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Sarah Ward

Serving Absinthe: 10 Tips and Tricks About Serving Absinthe

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Serving absinthe is at the tip of the iceberg of the history of making, drinking, and talking about absinthe. From absinthe flavor to an absinthe recipe to learning how to drink absinthe, there is so much to learn. As you learn the answer to “What is absinthe?” and you discover absinthe cocktails and the best absinthe brands, serving absinthe will come up, as will absinthe liquor bottle sizes and shapes.

In this blog post, we walk through additional information about serving absinthe. There are the basics about the legality of serving absinthe, the history of drinking it, and different cocktail options. There are also tips for serving absinthe at home, and general information about serving and drinking absinthe. Read on, then pour away!

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How Do You Serve Absinthe? 

When it comes to answering the question of “How do you serve absinthe?” there are many possible answers. From absinthe cocktails to where you can get an absinthe drink, the options are vast and varied. These five facets of the answer come together to give you some background knowledge about absinthe. That's in addition to information about serving and drinking it.

5. With Regard to History

Drinking absinthe requires at least some appreciation for the history of the drink. Absinthe was first crafted in Couvet, Switzerland, around 1792. It was created by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. Absinthe was first made to be used as a medicinal elixir. It didn’t take long for that to change.

4. The Rise of Absinthe

Once the intoxicating effects of absinthe were discovered it didn’t take long to catch on as a popular spirit for all sorts of people. From Vincent van Gogh to Ernest Hemingway to Oscar Wilde, absinthe took the world by storm. 

3. Serving Absinthe In Bars

Serving absinthe in bars comes with regulations, and you’ll definitely need to learn more than how to get a liquor license. It is legal to serve absinthe in the U.S. and across the world. You should look up your specific state regulations, but odds are you can serve at least some varieties of absinthe in your bar. 

2. Innovative Cocktails

Making an absinthe cocktail is all about finding complimentary flavors and ingredients. These days, there is a long list of absinthe cocktails to work with. That said, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting. You might just discover your new favorite cocktail.

1. Traditional Absinthe Drinks

While it’s exciting to try out new absinthe mixes, there’s never a bad time to enjoy traditional absinthe drinks. From the Absinthe Drip to the Sazerac to the Absinthe Suissesse, there are so many old fashioned cocktails to choose from. You truly can’t go wrong with any of them. 

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How to Serve Absinthe At Home

Learning how to serve absinthe at home is a little different from enjoying absinthe in restaurants or in a bar business. You can get creative or learn the traditional, popular cocktails. These five options have something for every home absinthe drinker. Some require a few tools and ingredients, and some can be whipped up with whatever you have available. 

5. Herbs and Spices

Absinthe is traditionally mixed with a variety of herbs and spices. You can experiment with it at home. The contents of your spice rack will have several options you can choose from. You never know what you might discover. 

4. Sipping Tasters

We don’t recommend drinking absinthe straight. If you want to try it out, however, there is a relatively safe option. A small taste of plain absinthe, perhaps a half a thimble full, isn’t excessively strong. If you want to experiment with straight absinthe, stick with miniscule amounts.

3. At-Home Mixers

When it comes to random at-home mixers, anything you have in the fridge can work. The best way to experiment with absinthe with a kitchen mix is to try small batches with a little extra flavor. Test out different juices, garnishes, or pairings for a unique twist. 

2. Home Bar Setups

If you’re stocking a bar at home, absinthe is a good option. You should buy a few brands and have some cocktail ingredients on hand. Any night at home can be spruced up with an absinthe cocktail.

1. Water and Sugar

Water, sugar, and absinthe is the traditional mix of the Absinthe Drip. If you’re not sure what to do with your absinthe at home, you can’t go wrong with this classic. All you need is three ingredients, a cup, and either an absinthe spoon or a large slotted spoon to dilute the mix.

Absinthe Served Properly

Absinthe served properly is a matter of opinion. Some folks will tell you the classic Absinthe Drip is the proper way to serve absinthe. Others will tell you the old cocktails, like the Sazerac, are the best way. Overall, there isn’t one proper way to serve absinthe. The oldest bars in America will give you some options. The most important factor is that you enjoy your absinthe drink.

"Key Takeaway: Making an absinthe cocktail is all about finding complimentary flavors and ingredients. These days, there is a long list of absinthe cocktails to work with."

Frequently Asked Questions About Serving Absinthe

Serving absinthe comes with a range of questions. There are questions about the legality of serving absinthe in different countries and different measurements of wormwood. There are curious inquiries into the different methods of serving absinthe for the flavor. 

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you insight into the world of serving and drinking absinthe. If you’re a bar owner, bartender, mixologist, or patron, there’s information here for you. 

How Do You Properly Serve Absinthe?

There isn’t one way to properly serve absinthe, but for most bar patrons and bartenders, the proper drink is the Absinthe Drip. That is the classic absinthe cocktail. It involves absinthe, water, and a sugar cube. The water and sugar serve to dilute the absinthe. It’s a classic for a reason, it’s always a good option for serving absinthe.

Can You Drink Absinthe Straight Up?

Technically, yes, you can drink absinthe straight up, but it isn’t recommended. Absinthe is a strong liquor, with an ABV of 45-74%. It can cause medical issues quickly if consumed without other mixers to dilute it. 

It also tastes better when combined with other cocktail ingredients. The strong black licorice flavor is difficult to stomach in a shot. It will certainly leave you in need of a hangover cure.

Do You Serve Absinthe Chilled?

Yes, there are many absinthe cocktails that are served chilled. For example, Death in the Afternoon, the absinthe and champagne cocktail created by Ernest Hemingway, is best enjoyed on the cold side. The cold champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine, mixed with a touch of absinthe, is quite the refreshing treat. 

Can You Serve Absinthe In a Bar?

Yes, you can serve absinthe in a bar. Absinthe was banned in the United States for quite some time. The ban continued on after Prohibition ended and the rum runners became a part of history. The ban was lifted in 2007. These days the restriction on serving absinthe relates to the amount of wormwood or thujone in the mix. 

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How to Serve Absinthe: Serve with a Side of Sugar

Learning how to serve absinthe is useful for bartenders, bar managers and owners, and absinthe enthusiasts alike. There is always more to learn, and the knowledge can be mixed with other cocktail education. 

Come back to the BinWise blog for more information about mixology. If you’re looking for inventory management for your bar or restaurant, check out BinWise Pro for your inventory program

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