By slowly adding water and sugar to absinthe, you mellow out its rough, high-proof edges, which allows more of its herbaceous and anise qualities to shine though. In the process, the absinthe also transforms from clear, verdant green to a milky, opalescent version of its former self. That transformation is called louching.
But the whole thing isn’t as simple as dumping sugar water into a glass. There is a slow ritual to louching bound up in centuries of tradition.
To properly louche absinthe, you will need a little time and the right paraphernalia, including an absinthe glass with a built-in reservoir and a slotted absinthe spoon, which holds the sugar cube over the mouth of the glass.
Traditional Absinthe Drip
1 ounce absinthe
1 sugar cube
3 to 5 ounces ice water
- Pour the absinthe into a glass capable of holding 3 to 5 ounces of additional liquid.
- Place your absinthe spoon on top of the glass so that the slots are suspended over the mouth. Place a sugar cube on top of the slots.
- Very slowly, drip very cold water onto the sugar cube. You can use a dropper bottle, absinthe fountain, or a carafe to help you dispense the water in controlled drops. Continue adding water until the sugar dissolves through the spoon’s slots into the glass. Stop adding water when you reach a water to absinthe ratio of at least a 3 to 1 and as high as 5 to 1.
- Stir and enjoy!