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How to Drink Absinthe


A traditional way of drinking absinthe. Water is chilled in a bowl of ice, and a tap is slowly opened. The water drips down through a cube of sugar to sweeten the absinthe. Brasserie in Paris, France
Cultura/Philip Lee Harvey / The Image Bank / Getty Images

At 106 proof, it is generally not recommended to drink absinthe straight, instead there is an "appropriate" preparation that has been used for years (popularized by French drinkers) to enjoy the strong anise-flavored liqueur. It's a simple recipe that involves absinthe, sugar and water and once you get the hang of the pouring technique you'll be able to create the perfect louche (the cloudiness that occurs when water touches the absinthe). If you find that you enjoy absinthe in this traditional preparation you may also want to buy a set of absinthe glasses and spoons, which are designed specifically for this drink.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 5 minutes for preparation

Here's How:

  1. Pour between 1 and 1 1/2 ounces of absinthe into an absinthe glass, or similar stemmed glass.
  2. Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon (a flat silver spoon pierced with holes) and lay the spoon across the top of the glass rim.
  3. Slowly pour cold water onto the sugar, just enough to saturate it, and allow it to set until the sugar cube begins to dissolve.
  4. Pour more water over the sugar, again slowly, until the desired dilution is found and the sugar is completely dissolved. Most commonly the ratio is between 3 and 5 parts water to 1 part absinthe. As the water hits the liquor a white cloudiness, called the louche, will swirl through the liquid, creating quite the spectacle and releasing the absinthe's herbal bouquet.
  5. After the louche has been allowed to rest, stir in the remaining and undissolved sugar.
  6. Sit down and slowly enjoy your absinthe.


  1. Absinthe is typically over 100 proof so it is best to dilute it and it is equally important to drink it (and anything) in moderation.
  2. Absinthe is best when poured and sipped slowly.
  3. If you do not have an absinthe spoon a large fork or tablespoon will work.
  4. Another popular method of drinking absinthe is to dunk the sugar cube in the absinthe, place the cube on a spoon and light it aflame. Allow the sugar to melt into the absinthe and, as the flame lowers, stir the remaining sugar into the liquid.

What You Need:

  • Absinthe Liquor
  • Absinthe Spoon
  • Glass
  • Sugar Cube
  • Cold Mineral Water
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