Real Absinthe - Storing, Serving Temperatures, Best Practices, Aging, and More
All you Wanted to Know About Absinthe
Absinthe is a beautiful spirit; it’s filled with history, tradition, and customs; there’s no other spirit like it.
With such a unique drink, it’s not uncommon that even experienced drinkers and industry professionals have questions about serving it and making the most out of the green fairy.
How to store it, serving temperatures, best practices, aging, and the evolution of your bottle collection are entirely unique to the legendary spirit; absinthe has special needs.
Looking to further enhance the way you enjoy the spirit, here are the most common questions about absinthe, answered by the professionals at Absinthe Original, the leading source for everything absinthe, shipped worldwide.
Does Absinthe Get Better With Age?
After trying some almost 100-year-old absinthes, experts in the industry answer a profuse Yes.
All distilled spirits age very well, but few improve over time like real absinthe. Alcohol preserves the spirit preventing spoilage, but it’s the complex herbs infused in absinthe what make it evolve.
Flavours and aromas merge and combine as they integrate into a sophisticated bouquet through years of aging. The colour might change too, especially in absinthes that had a green or yellow hue in the first place.
It’s not that flavours improve, but evolve into something else, they balance each other out and mellow increasing the spirit’s complexity.
Like with fine wine, you might be inclined to more intense fresher aromas from young absinthe, or you might enjoy a more balanced complex bouquet from aged ones.
The good news, you don’t have to choose! Enjoy your absinthe bottles anyway you want and taste them as they evolve through every step of their long life.
What About Oak-aged Absinthe?
Some producers are pushing oak-aged absinthe, although it’s not a historical practice.
Spirits that benefit from oak aging like rum, brandy, and whiskey are often raw and depend on the colours, texture, and aromas from oak to stabilize and gain character.
Real Absinthe, like other herb-scented spirits including gin or Chartreuse, take their personality from the herbs used to flavour them, often secret and complex recipes passed on from generation to generation.
Oak aging absinthe will mask the fresh herb aromas jeopardizing the master distiller’s original intent.
In a category on its own, absinthe needs no oak to offer an extraordinary experience.
How Should I Store Absinthe?
As a high-proof spirit, absinthe is much more resistant than wine, so it needs less attentions.
Store at slightly cooler than room temperature, at 55-60°F / 13-16°C, as with all distilled spirits such as whiskey, vodka, gin, and tequila. Room temperature is acceptable as long as it is not excessively hot. When the bottle is only one-third full, decant it into a smaller container or drink it right away to prevent oxidation and maintain flavor.
Avoid direct sunlight that can damage the aromatic compounds in absinthe and store it upright to prevent the cork from weakening. This applies to all spirits, but particularly to those flavoured with all-natural plant-based flavourings.
Consider that brown and green bottles are better at blocking UV rays than crystal clear bottles.
What About the Fridge? Should a Bottle of Absinthe be Refrigerated?
No, and definitely not the freezer which will ruin it! You should never refrigerate absinthe since some compounds like anethole, responsible for the lovely anise flavours, can start to crystalize under 68°F and affect the pristine brightness of the spirit.
Remember, we chill absinthe with ice water while serving, so there’s no need to keep it refrigerated. Absinthe fountains are not only beautiful ornaments, they’re the best way to dilute and chill real absinthe.
Fountains for absinthe are also social enhancers, since inviting people over to spend time around a fountain and experience the ritualistic pouring is a great way to introduce them to the green fairy absinthe.
How Long Will an Opened Absinthe Bottle Keep?
Absinthe is very stable for its high alcohol levels and refined production method, so an opened bottle will not only keep for years in the right environment; it will continue to age and develop.
Oxygen is your friend; it helps the aromas in absinthe to shine through, but it can also hinder the spirit with time, so keep your opened bottles corked.
Half-empty bottles are more prone to oxidation, but you can transfer your spirit into a smaller container to have less exposure to air.
Can You Drink Absinthe Straight?
Really, you shouldn't. Absinthe needs to be mixed and diluted. At 70+ percent (140 proof), absinthe is simply too potent to drink on its own and enjoy the subtle flavor variations.
If you drink absinthe straight, it can badly damage your health and irritate your taste buds. Straight absinthe is not recommended due to the potent flavor and high alcohol content of the green distilled liquor. While absinthe can burn your taste buds, it's also very potent and dangerous if you drink too much of it. That is not to say that one cannot appreciate absinthe; done with with respect, it is an intriguing spirit with a distinctive taste.
The ideal way to drink absinthe is diluted with water and a sugar cube. Diluting absinthe is a skillful technique. You should essentially pour your absinthe into a glass. The special, perforated absinthe spoon should next be placed on top of the sugar cube. Pour ice-cold water over the sugar cube. The absinthe, water, and sugar are combined to make a delightful drink.
Should I Pour Absinthe Into a Decanter or Run it Through an Aerator?
“Opening” absinthe by putting it in contact with air by pouring it in a decanter or an aerator is a great way to help express a spirit that’s otherwise concentrated and “tight.” It’s, in fact, alcohol vapours dispersing what pushes forward the sweet compounds in absinthe.
Oxygenating is not always necessary, though; using a traditional absinthe fountain helps open the spirit, and all the aromas and secrets in absinthe show up as intended with a little patience.
There’s Always More to Learn
Absinthe is an extraordinary spirit; it encourages you to continue learning and invites you to immerse yourself it the culture and folklore behind its enticing history.
If you have any other questions about absinthe, let us know or comment below. Share this useful guide with your friends and family and share your passion for the green fairy.
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