How to Serve Absinthe

Absinthe has been held in high esteem by those who truly understand it’s origins and composition. Recently, with laws changing to allow its sale in the United States, its popularity has surged. Whether behind the bar or at home you should know how to serve it properly. In this segment, Jamie demonstrates an elegant way to serve Absinthe.


Wild Bill Turkey 10 Jun 2009
7:47 am

It’s about time a respected mixologist made a down-to-Earth, practical instruction video on this subject.
After all the horrible YouTube fiascos I’ve seen, and even a few that were not misinformed, but called for elaborate fountain setups that were just not practical for real-world service by busy bartenders or even casual home use, it’s really refreshing to see this done right. Serving absinthe should be easy and fun, just like you show it here.
Thanks Jamie!

Chris Milligan 10 Jun 2009
12:35 pm

Nice job as always Jamie.

Mike S. 10 Jun 2009
4:57 pm

Great video as always, and a great review of the proper method.  I rarely bother with the whole “drip” thing any more, however; it takes too long and doesn’t get the drink cold enough for my tastes.  My favorite way of drinking absinthe is in a modified (and simplified) frappe:  Pack a small rocks glass with crushed ice.  If you would normally sugar the particular absinthe you’re drinking, drizzle a little simple syrup (or, even better, Martinique Cane Syrup) over the ice; if not, don’t.  Pour in 1-2 ounces of absinthe, give a quick stir and enjoy!  One of the things I like most about this method is that you get to experience the absinthe through all stages of nearly-neat to wonderfully mellowed out as you sip and the ice slowly melts.  Not traditional, perhaps, but highly enjoyable (and at least it doesn’t involve fire).

Federico Cuco 29 Sep 2010
7:47 am

Jamie, thank you very much for the explanation. I have a question.
What are the absinthes that should serve with sugar?
Greetings from Argentina.
Federico Cuco

Robert Hess 29 Sep 2010
8:25 am

Frederico, the with/without sugar issue is typically more of one on personal taste than on the actual absinthe itself. Sort of how some folks like their coffee black, while others like to add sugar, or cream, or cream and sugar.

Absinthe as a product never has added sugar in it (or never should, if it is being made properly) however some may “taste” sweeter than others simply to how the botonicals they are using present their flavor profile.

When I started drinking absinthe, it was with a group of people who were very well versed in the product, many of them were drinking theirs without sugar, and commenting that they could appreciate the flavors better without. And being somebody who prefers my coffee black, I figured that was the way to go. Eventually I came to realize that (for me anyway), the added sugar actually plays a role in completing the flavor. Without it I felt that there was this slightly annoying gap in the way the flavor profile played out, and when I added the sugar, not enough to make the absinthe “sweet”, just enough to add a slightly sweet character to it, I felt that the flavor was more complete, and one in which I could even better distinquish the various nuances of the botonicals in.

Federico Cuco 30 Sep 2010
6:25 am

Robert, thanks for the explanation.
always a pleasure to be able to hear your advice master.
A greeting from Argentina

Jamie Boudreau 1 Oct 2010
12:02 pm

I agree with Robert. As with most things regarding sugar and salt, the addition, and amount is always a matter of preference.

MrDelirious 19 Dec 2010
11:47 am

Absinthe is pretty scarce out here, but are there any brands in particular you recommend?

Jamie Boudreau 19 Dec 2010
11:59 am

I’m not sure where you are that absinthe is scarce, but this ( is a good source of all things absinthe. Find out what’s available in your market (or just order online) and check this great resource.

Ginty 8 Apr 2011
1:57 pm

Jamie!  Good call on the Taboo.  I picked it up the last time I was in B.C.

Can’t say I know a lot about Absinthe, but I love this product.  Hope the LCBO will pick it up here in Ontario.

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