Absinthe Cocktail (Jerry Thomas)
The Absinthe Cocktail, often credited to bartender Jerry Thomas, is one of the classic absinthe-based cocktails that gained popularity during the late 19th century. Absinthe, a highly alcoholic distilled spirit made from wormwood, anise, and other botanicals, originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century. It quickly became a favorite among artists, writers, and bohemian circles in France and other parts of Europe.
Jerry Thomas, a prominent American bartender and author of the first cocktail book, "How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion," published in 1862, included the Absinthe Cocktail recipe in his collection. This cocktail, also known as the "Green Fairy," was a way to enjoy the intense herbal flavors and the intoxicating effects of absinthe in a more approachable form.
Thomas' Absinthe Cocktail recipe typically called for a mixture of absinthe, sugar, and water. This simple combination allowed the unique flavors of absinthe to shine through while mellowing the spirit's strong and bitter notes. The preparation method varied, with some recipes calling for stirring the ingredients with ice, while others suggested shaking or even layering the ingredients in a glass.
During the 19th century, absinthe faced controversy and was eventually banned in many countries due to its perceived hallucinogenic properties and alleged dangers. It wasn't until the late 20th century that absinthe began to regain popularity and became legal again in several places.
Today, the Absinthe Cocktail (Jerry Thomas) remains a classic in the cocktail lexicon, enjoyed by absinthe enthusiasts and those seeking a taste of history. Bartenders continue to experiment with different variations, adding their own twists to the traditional recipe. Whether it's prepared in the traditional manner or with a modern touch, the Absinthe Cocktail serves as a reminder of the mystique and allure this spirit has held throughout history.
SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
- Use high-quality absinthe: Look for authentic absinthe that is made with traditional ingredients and production methods. This will enhance the flavor and aroma of your cocktail.
- Fresh ingredients: Use freshly-squeezed lemon juice and high-quality sugar to achieve a well-balanced and refreshing taste.
- Proper dilution: Make sure to properly dilute the cocktail by adding ice and stirring or shaking well. This will help to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
- Choose the right glassware: Serve your Absinthe Cocktail in a stemmed glass, such as a coupe or a martini glass, to showcase its elegance.
- Garnish with flair: Consider garnishing your cocktail with a lemon twist or a sprig of fresh mint to add a visual element and enhance the aroma.
- Experiment with serving styles: While traditionally served straight up, you can also try serving your Absinthe Cocktail over ice for a refreshing twist.
- Master the louche: As traditional absinthe has a louche effect when mixed with water, experiment with different water-to-absinthe ratios to achieve the perfect level of opalescence.
- Take your time: Savor the experience of enjoying an Absinthe Cocktail slowly, allowing the flavors to develop and evolve as the drink warms up.
- Consider food pairings: Pair your Absinthe Cocktail with light and delicate foods like oysters or smoked salmon to complement its herbaceous flavors.
- Adjust to personal taste: Feel free to experiment with the recipe by adding a touch of your favorite liqueur or adjusting the sugar and lemon ratio to suit your personal preferences.