How to Serve Absinthe

Introduction: How to Serve Absinthe


It won't make you see green fairies but it is very strong. At nearly 70% it's a little like drinking anise-flavoured gasoline. Among alcohol it is unique, exciting and most of all - memorable.

There are two main reasons that you shouldn't drink absinthe straight. The first is the strength. The second, better reason is that the preparation is a fascinating and mesmerizing show you don't want to miss out on.

You Will Need:



Sugar cubes

Simple Syrup



Slotted Spoon

Step 1: Start With the Sugar

Place your slotted spoon over the glass, put a sugar cube on it and pour 1-2 shots worth of absinth over it.

Proper slotted spoons are hard to find - even online. An easier and cheaper alternative is to find a tea strainer that suits your purposes. In the second photo you can see two varieties of tea strainer - the first fits perfectly over my absinthe glasses and the second, which used to be shaped like a pair of tongs, I simply bent into position.

Step 2: Light the Cube

Turn out the lights, strike a match and light your sugar cube on fire. Let it burn - the heat will carmelize the sugar and help it melt into your drink more easily.

You can douse the flame by slowly dripping cold water onto the cube. This will achieve "the louche" or a milky opalescent appearance. This is the extent of the traditional method of serving absinthe. If you would like to try the bohemian method, skip the dripping water and head to the next step.

Step 3: Full-on Flames

Tip your slotted spoon and drop the sugar cube into the absinthe. This will light the whole thing on fire and you can watch it flicker for a moment or two.

Occasionally the flames will die down on their own, but normally you should use use a shot of cold water to extinguish them or simply blow them out - you don't want to shatter your glass (it will be hot so don't touch it right away or pick it up from the bottom).

Optional: Add a drizzle of simple syrup and a few ice cubes.

Now that you've mastered how to serve absinthe, try experimenting with it:

Witch's Brew Cocktail

Flaming Skull Shots

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    6 years ago

    It's always nice to see mentions of absinthe, given how little many people know about the drink. Unfortunately, there are some problems with these instructions. While it's true that some people use this method for drinking absinthe, I would not recommend it.

    Bringing fire anywhere near the presence of high-proof, highly-flammable alcohol is dangerous. There have been several cases, in the past few years, of individuals badly burned by absinthe and other high-proof liquor that was either accidentally or intentionally set on fire.

    Additionally, good, quality absinthe usually has its flavors and aromas dampened or snuffed out entirely by burning it or adding caramelized sugar. Lastly, there is a factual error with the instructions - the entire method of using fire/absinthe-soaked sugar cubes is part of the Bohemian method, not just the part where the drink itself is set on fire.

    The traditional method, in case the author would like to contrast with the Bohemian method, is simply to slowly drip ice-cold water into the drink. An absinthe spoon and a sugar cube are often used, with the water dripping onto the sugar cube and into the glass. You can also drip sans spoon (and even sans sugar if you prefer it that way).

    This is a really cool method of serving absinthe! Always enjoy serving alcohol with fire! Thanks for sharing!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I thought so too. The presentation makes it much more fun than just drinking or doing shots.


    8 years ago

    This is something I tried to look up and could not find any good information on. Thank you.