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How to Properly Prepare an Absinthe

The traditional preparation of absinthe typically relies on an absinthe fountain or a carafe, slotted absinthe spoons (one for each participant), sugar cubes sized for the spoons and absinthe glasses (one for each participant). Aside from the carafe and sugar cubes, these unique items are specific only to absinthe.
 
To begin, absinthe is poured into an absinthe glass, which features a line or reservoir used to indicate an absinthe dose. The standard absinthe dose is 30 ml or one fluid ounce, but varies by the size of the glass used. An absinthe spoon is then placed across the glass rim and a sugar cube atop the spoon. Ice water is slowly dripped from an absinthe fountain, carafe or balancier onto the piece of sugar. As the sugar water drips from the spoon into the glass of absinthe, the mixture begins to cloud to an opalescent white, with a tint of greenish yellow. This effect is called the "louche" (pronounced loosh, which means cloudy or hazy in French) and occurs when the essential oils are not able to disperse in the water, therefore creating a clouding effect. Besides this change in appearance, as the oils are released, the air becomes perfumed with the fragrance of anise, fennel and grande wormwood. Once the sugar has dissolved from the spoon, the absinthe can be sampled and the strength and sweetness can be adjusted by adding more water or sugar, to taste. The mix ratio is also according to one's liking, usually 1 part absinthe to 3 to 5 parts water. Besides adding to the overall flavor of the drink, sugar has been traditional used to help mask the bitterness of the grande wormwood.

The absinthe is now traditionally prepared in the same manner as it was over 100 years ago and is ready to drink. Santé !