Absinthe, So Misunderstood..

Do you believe in the power of the Green Fairy?

With National Absinthe Day this week, Saturday 5th March, many of you may be unsure about the mysterious spirit, it’s taste and history. Fortunately, Riddles is here to provide the facts and the most delicious ways to enjoy absinthe.

The French spirit is often called ‘la fée verte’ (or ‘the green fairy’ to anyone who can’t riddle out the French language). Originating in the 18th century, absinthe’s popularity grew in the late 19th century, becoming a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde and Vincent van Gogh.

Absinthe was considered by many a ‘miracle tonic’, celebrated by artists and writers as it was thought to influence creative processes. However, others thought it a dangerous and addictive hallucinogenic, which is probably the notion you are most familiar with. Let’s clear up the misconceptions for you… absinthe does not in fact cause hallucinations (or cause you to chop off your ear like Van Gogh), but is in fact a beautifully crafted drink. The Absinthe that was blamed for the collapse of french society was banned for containing harmful alcohol levels and questionable ingredients. However the absinthe found in bars today is an exquisite spirit, made to the originally intended recipe, today it is much more green fairy and less green devil. 

Absinthe is produced by infusing a blend of botanicals with a high volume spirit. Traditionally, this is done twice to intensify the flavour and create the signature green colour. The green spirits flavour palate consists of anise, wormwood and sweet fennel, giving a delectable and unique herby flavour.

While we can’t promise you’ll succumb to the green fairy and find fame from artwork or literature, we can however recommend the best ways to enjoy absinthe…

Our new expertly crafted absinthe cocktails are a must-try. Firstly, the Absinthe Suissesse, a classic New Orleans brunch cocktail. The anise flavour of absinthe works perfectly with almond syrup, milk, cream, egg white and orange flower water.

A twist on the original nickname, The Green Beast is a simple yet delicious drink. Ice cold water is shaken with cucumber slices and added to absinthe over ice, a spring refresher.

Many of our classic prohibition cocktails made to traditional recipes also include an absinthe wash, a few drops of absinthe line the glass to add a floral flavour and aniseed nose. Try this in our Sazerac, made with your choice of bourbon, rye, rum or brandy with Peychaud’s bitters and sugar.

Finally, Riddles gives you the traditional way to enjoy ‘the green fairy’.  Our absinthe boards come with a double measure of absinthe, ice cold water and sugar cubes. Let our bartenders advise you on how best to craft your drink, using the absinthe spoon to dilute or sweeten the spirit until it is just right.

A special for National Absinthe Day, our absinthe boards will be on offer for just £6 on Saturday 5th March. Its our way of encouraging you to banish those fears and open your minds to this french specialty. Why not come in and wash away your misconceptions about our much-loved green spirit…

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