Once you’ve learned the answer to “What is absinthe?” and you’ve delved into absinthe cocktails to mix up for your bar or home, there’s a next step in your absinthe journey. That step is learning all about absinthe brands. Whether you have a bar business or you’re buying absinthe for your home learning about some of the best brands is key.
These 10 best absinthe brands cover a range of what absinthe can be. No matter what you’re planning to use your absinthe for–perhaps even a cocktail bar–there is something on this list for you.
10. Copper & Kings Absinthe Blanche
Copper and Kings Absinthe Blanche, crafted in Butchertown, Louisville, Kentucky, is an absinthe with a brandy base. It has the typical absinthe notes of wormwood, hyssop, and fennel, alongside black pepper from the unique blend. It’s a creamy, enjoyable option of all the U.S. absinthe variations. If you’re looking local for stocking a bar, this is a great option.
9. Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte
The Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte is another U.S.-made favorite absinthe choice. Made in Denver, Colorado in a small-batch process, this Absinthe Verte is produced with the traditions of 19th Century European distillers in mind. This absinthe was first crafted in 2008. It’s recommended for the classic absinthe cocktail, the Sazerac.
8. St. George Absinthe Verte
The St. George Absinthe Verte was the first legal American absinthe after the ban on absinthe was lifted in 2007. Produced in Alameda, California, this absinthe option may have a playful monkey on the label but it’s not messing around. It remains one of the best absinthe options in the U.S., and it suits many of the best absinthe cocktails.
7. Pernod Absinthe Superieure
The Pernod Absinthe Superieure, was originally made in Pontarlier, France. The Pernod name gained traction from the beginning of the distillery in 1805. These days Absinthe Superieure is still produced in France. There are many unique absinthe bottles available on the market today, but for many, the Pernod option remains the superior choice.
6. Letherbee Charred Oak Absinthe Brun
The Letherbee Charred Oak Absinthe Brun, from Chicago, Illinois, is a unique addition to this list. The barrel-aged process results in a caramel-colored mixture. The oak barrels also affect the flavor, creating a spicy, smooth, mellow absinthe. With hints of vanilla and caramel, this is one to test out in many cocktail options.
5. Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe
Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe is from Pontarlier, France, which historically is the heartland of absinthe. It’s a small-batch production absinthe, which means care is put into every single bottle. The base comes from a chardonnay grape, which makes this one of the more unique absinthe options on this list.
4. Jade Liqueurs Nouvelle-Orléans Absinthe Supérieure
Jade Liqueurs Nouvelle-Orléans Absinthe Supérieure has the most high-class name of all the absinthes on this list, and its name suits it well. From Samur, France, this mix is one of the classic absinthe options. It suits any cocktail and any occasion. Although it’s not from New Orleans, it has the spirit of The Big Easy.
3. La Clandestine Absinthe
La Clandestine Absinthe, from Switzerland, is one of the best clear absinthe options. It’s fitting that it is so high on this list since it comes from Switzerland, the birthplace of absinthe. It is relatively easy and budget-friendly, so if you want a bottle of some of the best traditional and unique absinthe, this is the option for you.
2. Golden Moon Redux Absinthe
Golden Moon Redux Absinthe, crafted in Golden, Colorado, is a notable choice from all the U.S.-based absinthes. With an ABV of 65%, this is quite the punch of absinthe, and the traditional use of thujone is a major player in the mix. It can be purchased online but if you’re looking for a reason to visit Colorado this is it.
1. Doc’s Natural Spirits Green Absinthe
We saved the number one spot for an absinthe that rings true as a traditional choice. Doc’s Natural Spirits Green Absinthe, from New York City, is considered a modern rendition of the classic absinthe mix. It’ll take you back to pre-regulation absinthe without the health risks.
"Key Takeaway: These 10 best absinthe brands cover a range of what absinthe can be."
Frequently Asked Questions About Absinthe Brand Options
Absinthe has been used in mixed drink options and served in bars and restaurants for several centuries. It inspires many questions, particularly because of the veil of mystery surrounding the spirit. From Van Gogh to Oscar Wilde, many famed artists have dabbled in absinthe and written about it.
With those famous penned lines and so many more, there is plenty of information about absinthe. We’re adding our own with these answers to some frequently asked questions. These answers will give you more confidence with serving and drinking absinthe.
What Is the Strongest Absinthe You Can Buy?
The strongest absinthe you can buy is the King of Spirits Gold Absinthe. It contains 100mg of thujone and it is 140 proof–that’s a high ABV. It is available for purchase in the U.S., however, it is quite expensive with a price point of over $200.
We chose not to include this Gold Absinthe on our list of the 10 best absinthe brands. While it is unique, it fits a niche area of drink mixing and enjoyment. If you have the chance to try it, give it a whirl! But remember, some of the best absinthes are the more middle-of-the-road options.
Can I Get Real Absinthe In the U.S.?
Yes, you can get real absinthe in the U.S., though rules and regulations on serving it in bars are extensive. Absinthe with thujone was banned in the U.S. from 1912 to 2007. These days you can purchase full-strength absinthe. The main rule that regulates the absinthe folks consider real is that lawfully imported absinthe sold in U.S. liquor stores needs to be free of thujone.
Of course, free isn’t a black-and-white term. The technical rule is that this legal absinthe must have a thujone level of below 10ppm (parts per million). If you want full thujone-strength absinthe, the best place to drink it is overseas or at home. You can even deck out your home bar with some of these best 10 options.
What Does Real Absinthe Taste Like?
Real absinthe tastes primarily like black licorice. This unique punch of flavor comes from the addition of herbs like anise and fennel. There are some very smooth absinthe options that have only a faint black licorice flavor. This flavor also can be balanced depending on the absinthe cocktails you mix up.
Is Absinthe a Sipping Drink?
Yes, absinthe is typically a sipping drink. If you’re drinking an Absinthe Drip, it should be sipped and savored. In general absinthe cocktails are well suited to sipping. If there’s one thing you don’t want to do with absinthe, it’s shooting it as a shot.
Absinthe Brand Choices: Pick Your Poison
These 10 absinthe brands suit any bar, restaurant, or home. They can be mixed into cocktails and served up on any occasion. If you’re picking absinthe brands for your bar, you should also pick up some inventory program support. BinWise can help you there.
BinWise Pro, paired with the BinScan mobile app, keeps your inventory in line. When you take inventory with BinWise you’re set up for success. If you bring BlueCart into the mix for your order management system you’ll be ready for any bar patron.