Happy National Absinthe Day! I’m celebrating with this Garden Fairy cocktail that combines bold absinthe with the flavors of fresh cucumber, lime, and herbs.
If you enjoy absinthe cocktails, check out my easy Absinthe Frappé recipe!
What is absinthe, anyway?
Many folks think that absinthe is a liqueur, but it’s actually a distilled spirit, with an average ABV ranging from 50-75% or more! (Compare that to the average bottle of vodka or gin at 40%). Absinthe is not only boldly alcoholic, it’s flavor is intense as well. Absinthe is made with anise, wormwood, and fennel, among other botanicals.
The strong anise flavor can easily overpower other ingredients, so it’s common to see it used as just a “rinse” in many classic cocktail recipes. An absinthe rinse means that a small amount of the liquor (about a 1/4 ounce) is poured into the serving glass, swirled around to coat the surface, and then discarded. The rinse imparts a more subtle anise flavor that helps to bring many cocktails (like the classic Corpse Reviver #2) to life.
I’ve paired the anise and wormwood flavors of absinthe with the strong herbal flavor of French bitter liqueur Suze, and the caraway flavor of aquavit. All of these strong flavors meld beautifully together, and are brightened by the addition of fresh lime juice and cucumber liqueur. I found Thatcher’s Organic Cucumber liqueur at my local liquor store and I highly recommend it, if you’re able to find it near you. Otherwise, you could substitute with a cucumber syrup, and if all else fails, you could use simple syrup and muddle a few slices of fresh cucumbers! If muddling, make sure to fine strain the cocktail when pouring over your crushed ice to avoid pieces of cucumber getting stuck in your straw.
Where can I find edible flowers for garnishing?
I purchased these pretty edible flowers from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals. I’ve ordered from them several times now and always been happy with their flowers! They have a really great selection of flowers, herbs, and microgreens to choose from. Keep in mind – the shipping is expensive because the flowers need to be kept cool. I wait until I plan to order a lot so it’s most economical. You can learn a whole lot more about edible flowers for cocktails over in my Cocktailian’s Guide to Edible Flowers.
This blend of absinthe, aquavit, Suze, lime, and cucumber is crisp and potent, with a green, bitter, herbal backbone, perfect for early Spring!
- 1 oz absinthe
- 1 oz cucumber liqueur (I used Thatcher's Organic)
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 oz aquavit
- 1/2 oz Suze
- 3 dashes grapefruit bitters
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and add 2-3 small pieces of ice.
- Shake until the ice dissolves, then pour into a glass or mule mug filled with crushed ice.
- Stir, top with more crushed ice, and garnish with a lime wheel and edible flowers.