Food & Drinks

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Absinthe & a Martini

If you've never had Absinthe before my suggestion is to try it. Most people do not like Absinthe at first. It is reminiscent of licorish and heavy on fennel. The licorish flavor is actually anise. There really isn't a lot of anise and fennel in American cooking and so really for us it's sort of a different and new thing.  Absinthe has to contain 3 ingredients to be truly Absinthe. Wormwood, fennel and anise. Anything that is put into it afterwards is up to the creator. Many Absinthes' have variations of wormwood fennel and anise, along with coriander, melissa, and sometimes hyssop and many other herbs and botanicals. You have to find one that suits you.

There are many brands now available in the United States all with different and unique distilling processes. My husband prefers to get his shipped in from Europe - the brands that aren't yet sold state side. The first time you have an Absinthe, you should definitely have it in the traditional preparation, which DOES NOT include fire. Absinthe is never supposed to be set on fire. In another post I'll go over the traditional Absinthe cocktail preparation. It's truly a wonderful apertif.

A few nights ago I made my husband a martini. To me a martini is a base spirit of either gin or vodka, has a splash of dry vermouth, a splash of olive juice, tons of olives, shaken with ice and strained into a martini glass. He had the idea of using gin and giving it a splash of Absinthe as well. So I did. Just a touch of Absinthe (you really don't need much Absinthe if you are using it to bring out a new flavor profile in a cocktail, such as the Sazerac).

Once I was done I tasted and to my delight, it was delicious. This was the new martini. So it has all of the details of a great dirty martini but with a twist. The olives add a tart and earthy flavor while the Absinthe brings in some herbal touches. What a delight!

Dirty Absinthe Martini


3 oz of gin or vodka
splash of dry vermouth
splash of olive juice
splash of Absinthe (most kinds will do, if you do not have Absinthe, Pernod or pastis will also work)


Fill cocktail shaker half way with ice. Pour in all ingredients and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with olives. Enjoy!

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