On National Absinthe Day, observed each year on March 5, we celebrate the drink known as “the green fairy.” Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the 18th century and rose to popularity in early 20th century France, especially with artists and writers. The drink enjoys a mystique and is often associated with bohemian culture, making it an especially fun drink to enjoy today!
Why We Love National Absinthe Day
A. The cool kids like it
Absinthe is the drink of artists and writers, and some of its most famous fans included Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde! If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us!
B. It has a reputation
Absinthe was long banned in the United States and much of Europe because of its reputation as an addictive hallucinogen! The drink is made of wormwood, anise, and fennel and contains trace amounts of the chemical compound thujone, which some people said caused psychoactive symptoms. It has been proven to be no more dangerous than ordinary alcohol, and has since been legalized, but its reputation lingers, making it seem forbidden — and fun.
C. It’s fun
Traditionally, absinthe is served via a special process called “louching.” Here’s how you do it: put 1 oz. of absinthe in a cup, pace a specially-designed slotted spoon over the cup, place a sugar cube on the spoon, and use an absinthe fountain or carafe to slowly drip ice water on the sugar cube. As the sugary water drips down, the green absinthe turns milky and is ready to drink. Watching an absinthe drink prepared in the traditional way is great fun, and even more fun is drinking the drink once it’s ready!
How to Celebrate National Absinthe Day
1. Go to a cocktail bar
Many cocktail bars feature absinthe cocktails on their menu, and some high-end bars even have the tools for the traditional French preparation. Order absinthe cocktails and enjoy the distinct flavor. Salud!
2. Throw an absinthe party
Invite your friends over to celebrate National Absinthe Day by enjoying the delicious taste of absinthe! Buy several varieties of absinthe and have a taste test, and prepare a few varieties of cocktails to see which ones you like best. Want to really get in the mood? Play French music and have friends dress up like the Belle Epoque!
3. Make your own absinthe
If you love to DIY, do the ultimate DIY by making your own absinthe! The ingredients you’ll need are a grain alcohol as a base spirit (Everclear is an example) and spices including star anise, anise seed, fennel, licorice root, lemonpeel, and wormwood. The ingredients can be hard to find in stores, so check online for a pre-made kit with the ingredients sourced for you! Let the spices seep in the liquor, and you have absinthe!