Absinthe Minded: 5 Brands of the Scary ‘Green Fairy’ You Needn’t Fear
Photo: Rafa Elias (Getty Images)
The world of alcohol is drunk with social stigmas: Jägermeister for frat boy Jägerbombs and vodka for Jell-O shots while tequila makes a happy drunk and moonshine might make you go blind. But no spirit has worse press than absinthe.
The anise-flavored, herbal spirit, better known as “the naughty water,” has more than a century of negative stereotyping going against it. Sometimes referred to as “the green fairy” due to its green hue, absinthe was fancied over a sugar cube and, with the right amount, could potentially make you hallucinate (god willing).
After extreme popularity in the 18th century, the momentum halted when people claimed the spirit was dangerous and addictive. By 1915, it was banned in the US, which lasted nearly a century until 2007 when many brands began to hit the market again.
Check out some bartender-approved picks for the best brand for an absinthe afternoon delight.
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Copper & Kings Absinthe Alembic
“Copper & Kings is a great distillery out of Louisville, and they make amazing absinthe, they have a barrel-aged version that is delicious.” – Jack Keane, bartender at Sundry and Vice in Cincinnati
Photo: Copper & Kings
“I like St. George for sipping. I use Kubler for mixing.” – H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor of Elixir in San Francisco
“Mansinthe (Marilyn Manson’s absinthe brand). I never go for celebrity spirits but a friend of mine gave it to me as a gift and I fell in love.” – Meredith Barry, beverage manager at Grand Tavern by David Burke in St. Louis
“Pernod Absinthe is the go-to label for bartenders. At 140 proof (which most absinthe is), it's exactly what you want for cocktail production. There are really beautiful and high-end absinthes on the market. But for our purposes, there's nothing better than Pernod.” – Sam Vause, general manager at Brim House in Toledo
St. George Absinthe
“Our bar is very much about the classics. For this reason, among others, our go-to absinthe is St. George. It's perfect for rinses, mixes, or as a stand-alone aperitif. St. George was the first legal American absinthe after the ban was lifted in 2007 and maintains the standard for what one is looking for it a top-notch liqueur.” – Melinda Cooper, bartender at Brasserie by Niche in St. Louis
Photo: St. George