Beginner’s Guide: How To Drink Absinthe
The mysterious spirit absinthe has tantalized and scandalized drinkers since its heyday in the 1800s. Everyone from nobles and ear slicing artists to unemployed writers and struggling painters drank absinthe in Bohemian Paris, often using interesting, ritualistic methods to chase the “Green Fairy.”
Absinthe is a tasty liqueur reminiscent of liquid licorice combing spirits and herbs including fennel, green anise, star anise, and a type of wormwood called Artemisia absinthium. Inside Artemisia absinthium is a compound called thujone, which is the ingredient that sends things crazy if you imbibe enough of it.
The much-hyped hallucinatory effects of thujone prompted absinthe’s prohibition until 2007 in the United States, but science has proven it does not cause hallucinations, the drunkenness (and copious amounts of sugar) does. The following article will guide the uninitiated on how to drink absinthe, the kit used in crafting a quality absinthe drink, and a collection of my favorite absinthe cocktail recipes.
The Traditional Absinthe Ritual
Drinking absinthe in the traditional fashion is called a ritual because it is “a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.” This ceremony is for the absinthe drinker’s visual enjoyment and for the overall taste of the spirit. Applying this method adds significantly to the enjoyment of the liqueur.
The process is still adopted in specialist bars and clubs with a focus on absinthe, but you can purchase a traditional absinthe set or individual pieces of equipment to mirror tradition at home. It’s a lot of fun if done correctly.
- 1 x absinthe glass (There are elegant glassware options, but why not choose a badass chalice like a boss?)
- 1 x absinthe spoon (These spoons come with a card of the ritual process)
- 1 x absinthe Fountain (I recommend the French Bohemian Style)
- 1 x iced water
- 1 x bottle of absinthe (I recommend Absinthe Verte)
- 1 x packet of sugar cubes (White sugar dissolves best in the liquid)
- Pour about 1 ounce of absinthe into an absinthe glass or small wine glass.
- Place a sugar cube on the slotted absinthe spoon and lay the spoon across the top of the glass rim. If you don’t have a slotted absinthe spoon substitute with a fork, not a teaspoon (you’ll see why in my cautionary tale below).
- Very slowly, pour ice cold water onto the sugar cube by drips until the sugar cube begins to dissolve.
- Continue dripping ice-cold water over the sugar until you are happy with the ratio of absinthe to water.
- As the water hits the liquor, the louche (a mixture of water and sugar) will swirl through the liquid, turning the spirit from a lurid emerald to a more opaque, milky color.
- Rest for a period, dissolve any remaining sugar and enjoy.
- Repeat steps as necessary.
Flaming Absinthe: A True Story
My friend set my arm on fire once when we were drinking absinthe like it was a flaming shot, and I do not want it to happen to anyone else.
I had just returned from a long international trip with a bottle of quality absinthe in tow – an expensive bottle with a piece of wormwood inside I claimed at duty-free. My friend Hoppy enjoyed getting stuck into the absinthe on occasion, so I called in for a visit and a tipple.
After dinner, we knocked back some beers and had our usual arguments about football and the quality of contemporary art. We were feeling chilled out so went looking for the Green Fairy.
Things degenerated quickly. We set up in the kitchen, setting fire to sugar on teaspoons and splashing them into shot glass after shot glass of the ghostly green liquid, giggling the entire time. It did not take long to reach a point where one of us had to operate the spoon, and the other the lighter, just to initiate a drink, which was an absolute disaster.
I had the misfortune of holding a teaspoon that had a dividing runnel along its length, and I also had some liquid on my hand. In an attempt to get it going Moulin Rouge style my sloppy friend clipped me as he tried to light the sugar.
In a heartbeat, I went up with a whooshing sound. I was covered in burning sugar and absinthe flame from wrist to elbow. All I could do was stare at my limb in bemusement as it became a fiery sword from Game of Thrones.
Thankfully, Hoppy’s wife was sober and keeping a close eye on us (we had prior form). She promptly put me out with a couple of tea towels then checked me over for severe damage. After finding nothing but stupidity, she gently scolded us and herded us out of the kitchen, permanently.
I woke up worse for wear the next morning, smelling like burnt hair and alcohol, with a left arm completely smooth.
Good times (drink responsibly!)
What is the Absinthe Drip?
The “absinthe drip” is like the ritual but you can get by without the equipment or the fancier absinthe preparation. The flavor changes a bit because you add ice and carbonated soda to the mix a lot earlier.
Pour an ounce of absinthe into a mixing glass loaded with crushed ice, making sure the ice level is above the absinthe. Place a sugar cube on top then (very) slowly drip soda ice water over the mixing glass until the sugar is dissolved. Stir together, then strain into a cocktail glass or highball.
Absinthe Cocktail Recipes
From my experience, if you aren’t drinking via the traditional absinthe ritual (or setting a sugar cube aflame), using the liqueur as part of a cool cocktail is the way to go. Absinthe is fantastic when playing an ensemble part, melding its flavor rather than dominating the other ingredients, working well in a range of nifty solo recipes.
1. Corpse Reviver No. 2
As a parent with two small boys under five (who no longer enjoys being lit on fire), I could probably enjoy this “hangover cure” most mornings for breakfast, plus, I’m drawn to anything called a Corpse Reviver.
The wild card in this classic cocktail is absinthe, but it takes the recipe to another level and the high alcohol content works well at keeping you together.
- 1 oz gin (I recommend Plymouth gin)
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 dash absinthe (splash up to one ounce if you’re brave)
Garnish: Orange peel
Add gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, and crushed ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake to blend. Add absinthe rinse (a rinse is pre-coating a chilled glass and removing excess) to a cocktail glass, then strain the mixture in. Garnish with an orange peel and serve.
2. Absinthe Suissesse
A classic on the N’Awlins cocktail scene, the Absinthe Suissesse is a unique, interesting alcoholic drink best made by shaking vigorously or blending.
- 2 oz absinthe
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 2/3 oz lemon juice
- Half an egg white
- A dash of soda water
First place into a cocktail shaker without ice and shake together. Then do it again with crushed ice, making sure the mixture is cold. Strain into a chilled coupe or wine glass. Add grated nutmeg on top to garnish and serve.
3. Absinthe Frappe
The Absinthe Frappe was invented in 1874 by Cayetano Ferrer at the Old Absinthe House bar in New Orleans and swiftly became the absinthe drinker’s cocktail of choice.
According to Neworleans.com “Customers who swore by the strong, icy drink included Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, and General Robert E. Lee.” Imagine kicking it with those fellas and hallucinating!
- 1 1/2 oz absinthe (when the ban was in place ‘Pernod absinthe’ was substituted)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz soda water
- A handful of mint leaves loosely agitated
- Crushed ice
Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and gently tumble until mixed. Pour into a coupe or chilled cocktail glass and serve. Add more mint to taste.
4. The Classic Sazerac
A classic American cocktail melding the spice of rye whiskey with the star and green anise flavor from Absinthe
- 2 1/2 oz rye whisky
- 1 sugar cube
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Dash of Absinthe Verte
- Lemon balm
Muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of iced water in a mixing glass. Add rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, and Angostura bitters to glass and ice cubes. Stir well.
Coat a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe rinse, remove excess liqueur, then strain contents of mixing glass in. Garnish with lemon balm.
RELATED: Top 50 best manly drinks for men
The Best 14 Leather Jackets for Men in 2021
With the winter months (hopefully) dwindling down, it’s time to start planning ahead to a time where we can wear thinner jackets and fewer layers. While it may be tempting to quickly shed your parka and grab for whatever piece of outerwear is nearby, don’t reach for last year’s wardrobe item just yet. Isn’t it time you try something new, like, say, a leather jacket?
Though it may seem all leather jackets are similar, there are actually many different designs and styles that work for different body types and tastes. In this article, we will take a look at the hottest leather jacket trends that have hit the market this season.
1. Aaron Brown Leather Bomber
The Aaron Brown Leather Jacket from The Jacket Maker is an excellent choice for any guy looking for that traditional bomber look. This awesome jacket features a slim cut and ribbed cuffs and waist. It’s made with incredibly tough, yet soft, goatskin leather, making it a great choice for guys that aren’t used to wearing leather jackets.
One of the best things about the Aaron is that it shirks the classic pouch pockets on the lower half of the jacket, opting for two buttoned patch pockets on the chest instead. This design gives it a more streamlined look than most bombers, without taking away from any of the authenticity.
2. Saint Laurent Leather Biker Jacket
There is a reason why leather jackets and bikers are usually associated with one another. Historically, many motorcycle riders have seen a leather jacket as a stylish way to protect themselves, not only from the elements but also from the possibility of a crash. While this may seem hard to believe – it’s not like leather comes with a large amount of padding, after all – leather has actually been shown to offer more protection than your average vinyl jacket or equivalent.
Maybe you’re not hopping on a motorcycle anytime soon, but you can still treat yourself to this biker-inspired Saint Laurent leather jacket. With a price tag surpassing $5,000, it’s certainly our premium pick on this list, but if you’re looking for the leather jacket of a lifetime, you have it right here. This pick is sure to come with the “for life” quality Saint Laurent is particularly known for.
3. Reiss Keith Leather Cafe Racer Jacket
Reiss is a British fashion retailer that’s been around since the 1970s. For the first 30 years of its brand history, it focused solely on men’s fashion before eventually expanding to carry items for women as well. However, the fact high-quality items for men are at the heart of this brand is very apparent through their simple wardrobe staples such as the Keith leather cafe racer jacket.
This Reiss jacket comes at a considerably lower price point than its counterparts, which makes it a pick that packs a lot of value. It’s made from super-soft leather and features a full lining. It’s the perfect choice for anybody who prefers a slim-fit jacket.
4. Lavendard Brown Leather Bike Jacket
The Jacket Maker has something for everyone, including guys that are a bit intimidated by purchasing their first leather jacket. Not only is the Lavendard incredibly affordable, but it also has a really approachable look despite its biker moniker. With open hem cuffs and a tailored fit, it looks great with badass-inspired outfits as well as everyday wear.
The Lavendard is made of real cowhide, which means it will take on a great patina over time. But it might be a bit stiff when you first get it. The more you wear it, the faster it’ll form to your body, break-in, and soften up. The fact that it goes with so many outfits will help speed up that process.
5. Ksubi Capital Leather Jacket
The Capital Leather Jacket from Ksubi comes in 100% authentic leather and is designed to have a biker fit. It’s heavy-duty with a protective interior quilted lining. It also features retro details such as antique zippers.
Kusbi is an Australian fashion label that’s existed since the 1990s. While the brand was originally focused on high-end denim, they’ve expanded their offerings over time to include other textiles such as leather. Items from Ksubi’s collections have been shown at such high-profile events as New York Fashion Week and London Fashion Week, and the company operates a flagship store in New York’s SOHO neighborhood.
6. Acne Studios Off-Centred Zipper Biker Jacket
Swedish fashion powerhouse Acne Studios is well-known for their basic wardrobe pieces, so it makes sense that they would have the classic leather jacket look on lock. We love the way this off-centered jacket packs a punch of personality with its multiple buckles and zippers, but we love even more the way that it does not compromise softness or comfort at the expense of appearance.
This jacket comes with a high-end price tag, but it has the high-end materials to match. It is made of 100% genuine lambskin and comes with an interior lining of 100% viscose. Its unique off-center zip takes its inspiration from street style.
7. Airin G-1 Black and White Leather Jacket
There’s only one way to improve upon a traditional bomber: Add shearling fabric. The Jacket Maker’s Airin G-1 Bomber will have ready to strap into the cockpit, ready to fly over Europe on a midnight air-raid. It has a thick polyester-lined collar as well as ribbed cuffs and waist for a nice, snug fit that keeps the wind at bay.
The Airin is made with real sheepskin, so it’s soft but super durable, making it a great choice for almost any type of casual wear. The dual front pouch pockets are great for a phone and a pair of gloves, so if you’re wearing it on a motorcycle, you’ll have the storage you need.
8. Saturdays NYC Leather Harrington Jacket
If you’re unfamiliar with the brand Saturdays NYC, prepare to fall in love. As a laidback lifestyle brand, Saturdays NYC infuses its love for all things surfer culture in all of its fashion offerings. While primarily known for their loungewear, such as sweats and pullover sweaters, they also happen to make one of the best leather jackets on the market right now.
The leather Harrington jacket features a smooth design and has deep pockets for your convenience. It is made of 100% lambskin leather and features a lining made of polyester. Staying true to its brand’s carefree nature, this jacket features a more relaxed fit than many classic leather jackets.
9. Berluti Piped Venezia Leather Jacket
Unlike the other options we’ve included so far, Berluti is known less for being a fashion brand and more for being a leather maker. Since its inception in the late 19th century, the Paris-based manufacturer has been producing fine leather clothing items and accessories, from belts to bags to jackets.
Berluti’s piped Venezia leather jacket is the apex of luxury leather fashion. Made from a distinctive brown shade, this jacket line has been around since the 1980s – and it’s a style that certainly stands the test of time.
This jacket is made from 100% authentic patinated calfskin leather and features shoulder patches and a buttoned collar. For optimal breathability, the jacket even features ventilation eyelets.
10. Dean Black Leather Biker Jacket
Let’s be honest.. A traditional racing-style biker jacket is about as cool as it gets. With the high band-style collar and heavy-duty zippers on the front of The Jacket Maker’s Dean Leather Biker Jacket, you’re sure to get that badass look.
The Dean is made with 100% real cowhide leather, so it might be a little stiff at first, but it will break in and patina like none other. The Dean features three zippered pockets on the front as well as zippered cuffs, providing that authentic racing jacket-look without killing your bank account.
11. Kingsman Burnished Leather Jacket
Kingsman is a line of high-quality clothing pieces that exists as a collaboration between Mr. Matthew Vaughn, director of the film The King’s Man, and international online fashion retailer MR PORTER. The line features items that are inspired by classic military style and timeless sensibilities.
The burnished leather jacket from the Kingsman line is unique for its length as well as its appearance. It draws direct inspiration from an aviator jacket worn on-screen in The King’s Man, a period piece that takes place in the 1940s. The jacket is made out of sturdy cow leather and buttons made of buffalo horns. It also features two linings – one made of cotton, and one made of viscose.
12. AllSaints Milo Leather Biker Jacket
AllSaints is a British fashion brand from the United Kingdom. Since its founding in the 1990s, it has grown to an international presence that consists of more than 200 retail stores across Europe, North America, and Asia. The brand is mostly focused on fashion for women and men, though it also sells footwear and other accessories. It has primarily seen its popularity grow thanks to its popularity among a celebrity clientele.
AllSaints makes a number of leather jackets, but the Milo biker jacket is definitely one to write home about. This is a jacket that brings out the very best of two very different worlds – including a soft composition and sharp edges – since it is made of tender lamb leather and decorated to the nines with perfectly-placed zippers and buckles. It also has a distinctive slim fit.
13. Golden Bear Sherpa Jacket
San Francisco brand Golden Bear may have its roots in ship workers in the San Francisco Bay since the 1920s, but it’s evolved today to combine both utilitarianism and high-end style. Although not as recognized outside of its native northern California, to know the stylish jackets of Golden Bear is to love them.
The sherpa jacket, in particular, is exquisite. Like any Golden Bear clothing piece, it’s designed to be worn for life, and fortunately, it comes with a style that will be sure to stay in fashion for decades to come, with brown distressed leather and a notable shearling collar that can be detached.
14. Tom Ford Zip-up Leather Jacket
Tom Ford is well-known for their high-end scents and formal clothing, but they have a strong foot in the casual jacket sphere as well. Not that this zip-up leather jacket is something you would wear to a casual house party. Its sleek edges and formal design make it more than suitable for a fancy professional event or night out on the town.
True to its brand’s roots, no attention to detail was spared in the creation of this particular wardrobe piece. Its straightforward design features 100% authentic leather and a cotton and polyamide lining. It is truly meant to last for life. Made in Italy, this jacket has shallow pockets in the front and a zipper down the center.
Leather Jacket FAQs
While there are many different unique leather jacket configurations out there, there are four classic syles you should be most aware of. In no particular order, they are the leather bomber jacket (also called aviator jacket), the leather racer jacket (sometimes called moto), the trenchcoat, and the fencer. While bomber jackets and racer jackets tend to be more relaxed, the trenchcoat and the fencer are more dramatic.
If you care for your leather jacket correctly you should have a wardrobe piece that’ll last you a lifetime. Most leather jackets cannot be washed at home and must only be handled professionally. The first step to taking proper care of your jacket is to adhere to this rule.
You should also keep your leather jacket dry as often as possible and keep it away from extreme heat or cold air. If you are not going to be wearing your leather jacket for a period of time, such as during a warm season, then you’ll want to be sure that you are hanging it up correctly – this means out of direct sunlight and in a properly-ventilated area.
Determining how much to pay for a leather jacket is a very personal matter. For an authentic leather jacket, you will probably be paying, at a baseline, $500. However, this price can easily skyrocket from here, depending on the jacket’s materials and manufacturing process.
Some leather jackets can cost as much as $10,000! There is no right or wrong number – it’s instead about the brands you like and the style that you envision for yourself.