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Absinthe Chemistry

How to Drink Absinthe

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Absinthe

Absinthe

Thad Demonet

The traditional ritual for serving absinthe is to pour ice-cold water over a sugarcube that has been placed on a slotted spoon. The slotted spoon rests on glass containing absinthe. The cold water dissolves the sugar and mixes with the absinthe. When the water mixes with the absinthe, the clear liquid becomes cloudy. This is called the 'louche'.

The usual ratio for drinking absinthe this way is to use five parts water to one part absinthe. The sugar and water dilutes the alcohol and masks some of the bitterness of the wormwood flavor. Of course, there are many variations on the traditional method. Some people prefer a ratio of three parts water to one part absinthe. It's also possible to drink absinthe neat, or without the water. Some modern absinthes are already sweetened, so no sugarcube is needed or desired when drinking them.

Learn about the history of absinthe...

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