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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Absinthe Cocktail: a hangover cure from Harry’s Bar

In search of a serious cocktail, and in the mood for something with egg whites (reason: researching the Ramos Gin Fizz), browsing through Jigger, Beaker, and Glass paid off.  There was the Absinthe Cocktail, complete with a charming story.  Now, you might ask, is the Utah mixologist becoming an effete, intellectual snob?  Using words like “charming” to describe a cocktail?  It all depends on the source of the cocktail. JB&G is a new edition of Charles H Baker Jr.’s The Exotic Drinking Book, a.k.a. The Gentleman’s Companion, Vol. 2; a collection of cocktail recipes collected on one or more voyages around the world in the early 1930’s that were completed by a true cocktailian.  Baker’s cocktail recipes are usually accompanied by an anecdote, either amusing or instructive, about where and when he first encountered the cocktail.  In the case of the Absinthe Cocktail, it was at Harry’s Bar (in Paris – where else?) after a night of heavy drinking. When a Russian Count saw how hung over Baker and his companions were; he mixed them up a brace of Absinthe Cocktails as a cure.

In Utah, there are several brands of Absinthe available, depending upon where you live.  Absinthe tends to be pricey, but you can inform your decision by finding information about Absinthe and links to review sites in the World Cocktail Brain.  Although some people are under the impression that real Absinthe is not available in the USA, that is no longer true.  It turns out that properly made Absinthe was never poisonous (that rumor was a false canard planted by the French wine industry), and is now readily available. Absinthe is strong (the minimum is around 100 proof, and many are stronger), so ¼ oz was actually cut from Baker’s recipe, which called for 1 ½ jiggers (2 ¼ oz).  (Warning: if you don’t like Absinthe, you probably won’t like this cocktail.)  For Anisette you may use any you have around the bar, Zambuco® filled the bill here.  Gomme Syrup (it imparts a smoother texture) being absent, Simple Syrup was used.  Baker recommends using finely cracked ice, and then running the cocktail through a “mixer” (blender?), in this case crushed ice from the ice-maker made do.

Absinthe Cocktail

2 oz Kubler® Absinthe
Dash of Anisette
¾ oz Water
½ tsp (or less) Gomme Syrup (or Simple Syrup)
Dash each of Angostura and Orange Bitters
1 tsp Egg White (or about ½ a white)

Combine ingredients in a shaker half full of cracked or crushed ice.  Shake it really well, switching sides at least once, to really emulsify the egg whites (or you may wimp out and use a blender).  The smaller the bubbles, the better.  Strain into a glass (a six oz glass is pictured) and spoon in as much ice as necessary to fill the glass.  Twist a slice of lemon peel above the glass to express some oils, and use the twist as a garnish.  Drink while icy cold to cure what ails you.  Santé!

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