Absinthe has mythical status. The historical, bar back ingredient, it is maligned and marvelled at. A London bar is dedicated to the elixir of poets, artists and the belle epoque.
Originally distilled by apothecaries to excite the appetite, this famous green distillate is gaining the attention of savvy consumers thanks to its botanical, flavourful character.
Alison Crawbuck and Rhys Everett, the co-founders of The Absinthe Parlour at The Last Tuesday Society (East London), believe it is on trend for cocktails right now. The pair have such a strong belief in the potential of absinthe that they have created the first London distilled brans, creating their own London absinthe, Devil’s Botany.
“It lends itself to aperitif-styled spritzes and refreshing highballs,” explains Crawbuck, “consumers are becoming more aware of what they are drinking and consciously choosing quality, local products to add a unique twist to their favourite classic cocktail recipes.”
Distillers with a background in mixology Crawbuck and Everett opened The Absinthe Parlour at the Society in 2016 to celebrate their shared passion for absinthe. Together they have built up an extensive list of top, traditional absinthes.
Everett continues, “Absinthe has always been an essential part of cocktail making. Celebrated for nearly two centuries. it has the ability to amplify the nuances of other spirits when mixed together in cocktails.”
Traditionally absinthe was used in a similar way as bitters: a few dashes added to a mix to enhance the flavours and heighten the drinking experience. He believes that, “bartenders are fully embracing absinthe and allowing it to shine as a base spirit in cocktails. It is so versatile and works incredibly well with such an array of other flavours.”
Flavour profiles are important in mixing any cocktail using absinthe, according to Crawbuck and Everett. “Anise and fennel seed are the most predominant flavours. We often explore the aromatic seeds’ culinary uses to find interesting flavour pairings that can be translated into cocktails,” they explain. “They add a sweet spiciness to tropical fruits and the liquorice-like flavour also works well with other bold ingredients, such as raspberry, mint, ginger, and chocolate.”
Absinthe Parlour cocktail: Absinthe Bramble Smash
- 50ml Devil’s Botany London Absinthe
- 15ml Lemon Juice
- 15ml Simple Syrup
- 5 Fresh Blackberries
- Topped with 50ml Soda Water
Method: Shake all ingredients except soda water and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top up the glass with soda water.