Facebook Twitter ShareAddThis
How to Make Absinthe at Home like Baudelaire

How to Make Absinthe at Home like Baudelaire

Ever dreamed of sipping absinthe at home like a true poet, this article will teach you how to make your own and enjoy it at best

By on

Historical gossip is full of stories alluding to absinthe as the liquor of choice for a “lost generation” of poets and artists: legendary names like Baudelaire and Verlaine claimed to drink it in great quantities for “inspiration”. While we can’t know for sure how much truth there is to these tales, we do know that there is a foggy haze of mystery surrounding these ancient concoction.

Absinthe is thought to have been first created in 1792 by the French doctor Pierre Ordinaire, who first had the idea of mixing alcohol with artemisia absinthium, or “wormwood”– an herb that is found all over the world with digestive, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. As it often happens, this plant was first used for medicinal purposes but its taste was so particular and appealing that it became widely popular in Switzerland, where Ordinaire lived, as a refined liqueur.

In 1805, Henri-Louis Pernod, decided to produce it industrially, and thus began the gloried years of absinthe: in 1912, consumption had risen to 220 million liters in France alone. With its bitter flavor and unmistakable green color, absinthe was typically consumed diluted in ice water with added sugar. Today, it’s easy to find ready-made preparations of absinthe, but it’s quite easy and affordable to make the concentrate at home.

Technically speaking, absinthe is a distilled liquor, which means that it comes from the distillation of a fermented plant product. It is composed of various herbs, which are the primary ingredients in the recipe. For a half liter of 95 proof absinthe, you’ll need: 35 grams of wormwood (artemisia absinthium) 35 grams of anise seeds 8 grams of angelica root 8 grams of star anise 4 grams of marjormam 4 grams of fennel seeds 4 grams of coriander, 4 cardamom pods half a seed of nutmeg. These herbs and seeds are all commonly found in any well-stocked supermarket or apothecary, but do avoid buying them “pre-mixed”. Purchase them one by one and mix them together yourself for a much better result. Begin by placing the alcohol in a glass bottle with the wormwood. Close the bottle with a sealed cork and let it sit for a month, shaking the bottle a couple times a day. Once the month is over, filter the liquid and add the other herbs, which you have mixed together previously with a mortar and pestle. You may use the same glass bottle, but make sure to wash and dry it carefully. Let the composition sit and steep for another month, shaking the bottle at least once a day.

At this point, your absinthe is ready to be enjoyed. How? You can sip it just as it is, but only if you are true experts at absinthe drinking. For those who might need a drink that’s a bit lighter and fresher, follow these steps: place a bit of sugar in a teaspoon and pour a glass of absinthe over the spoon, collecting the liquid in another glass. Using a match or lighter, carefully light the remaining liquor-soaked sugar on the spoon and blow out the flame after ten seconds. Then stir the spoon into the absinthe, adding a half-dose of ice water. Stir again. You might want to enjoy this splendid libation alone, at your desk, sitting before a sheet of blank paper and pen. Who knows what the poet or artist within you will do afterwards.

  • BrianRobinson said on

    I apologize in advance for the brusque nature of this comment, but it boggles the mind how someone who represents a gourmet site could write an article so poorly researched and incorrect. Even a cursory search in google would show you more correct information.

    Some points:

    1) You cannot make absinthe at home unless you either hold a distiller's license or want to break federal law. You see, absinthe is a DISTILLED spirit, not a macerated one.

    2) Even if you decide you wanted to make a macerated spirit that includes the same ingredients, it would not create absinthe, nor would it have even the slightest resemblance to authentic absinthe. Wormwood is an extremely bitter plant. Macerating it for any amount of time leads to a practically undrinkably bitter mixture. Distilled absinthe on the other hand is only mildly bitter and easily drinkable, since most of the bitter compounds are left behind in the still.

    3) the author seems to not understand what distillation means, as the process described above completely skips over that step. The process of making absinthe involves soaking the ingredients in high proof alcohol THEN distilling them. That last part is the most critical step.

    4) authentic absinthe was never traditionally set on fire. That practice was invented by the producers of imitation products during the 1990s I order to mask the fact that their product didn't taste good or resemble authentic absinthe in any way. Authentic absinthe is prepared by dripping cold water into the absinthe at a ratio of approximately 3-5:1, depending on the drinker's preference and the proof of the spirit. It should end up at about the strength of a glass of wine. Sugar is added at the discretion of the drinker.

    5) absinthe is not a 'liqueur' (which denotes a product containing sugar). Absinthe is a dry spirit with no sugar added until the drinker decides to put some in.

    If you would like correct information about absinthe (including the real way to make it) please refer to The Wormwood Society at

    Thank you,

    Brian Robinson
    Review Editor
    Media Liaison
    The Wormwood Sociey

Register or login to Leave a Comment.