Absinthe was made by Dr Pierre Ordinaire during the late 18th century as a medicinal elixir or tonic. The vital herbal ingredient, wormwood (artemisia absinthium) has been utilized since ancient times being a digestive tonic also to induce the appetite. Absinthe should thus be served as being an aperitif before a meal, an appetizer served with a bit of hors d’oeuvres and finger food.
Absinthe carries a strong anise flavor and a slight bitterness so it’s best to never serve it with a meal. However, Absinthe may be used in cooking, much like wine. When cooking, the alcohol will probably be shed and you will be left with the anise or licorice taste which is great in marinades. Here’s a recipe for a tasty marinade for chicken or fish.
2 tbsp dried tarragon or a handful of fresh tarragon
2 tbsp dried chervil or possibly a handful of fresh chervil
1 cup of Absinthe
1 cup of dry white wine
2 tbsp sugar
A dash of salt and a grind of pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and leave for some hours, preferably overnight. Marinade chicken or fish in the mixture for a few hours in the fridge and after that grill, barbecue or bake to get rid of off the alcohol.
You can also use Absinthe in stir fries and when basting meats, but ensure that you always combine it with sugar or fruit juice to make up for the bitterness of the wormwood.
Even the sexy French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli has long been proven to apply it in his recipes – risottos, Absinthe ice cream and marinades and infusions for vegetables and fish. Absinthe ice cream -yum!
In addition there are quite a few recipes online for Absinthe cookies and also Absinthe cupcakes with Absinthe frosting. Absinthe has so many uses!
Absinthe is also excellent in cocktails. Ernest Hemingway created a cocktail referred to as “Death in the Afternoon” where he notoriously mixed Absinthe with champagne, very self-indulgent. The Sazerac is actually a well-known Absinthe cocktail usually served in New Orleans:-
1 teaspoon of Absinthe
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 ½ ounces of rye whisky
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Freeze out a cocktail glass within the freezer then pour the Absinthe into it, swilling it around to let it coat the interior of the glass.
Put the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake and pour in to the glass. Garnish having a twist of lemon and drink.
You should know, if you are mixing Absinthe with many other alcoholic drinks, that Absinthe is a very strong liquor – as much as 150 proof, 75% alcohol by volume, so don’t get carried away!
So, what food to serve with Absinthe? Serve Absinthe being an aperitif before any meal, utilize it in cocktails, marinades, ice cream and cakes. Have fun with the Green Fairy.