Let’s talk absinthe – specifically, the absinthe frappe. I’d never heard of it until I visited the Old Absinthe House in New Orleans a few years ago. And now, it’s an easy summer go-to when I want something to cool me off at the end of the day. This time, instead of using simple syrup, I’m using a ginger-hibiscus syrup I prepared a couple of weeks ago for another cocktail.
If you’re an absinthe fan, you’re loving the absinthe renaissance that we’re in – it’s a fabulous licorice flavored spirit that’s as refreshing as a minty cocktail to me when served over ice. (Note for later: absinthe lemonade). The absinthe frappe is delightfully easy to prepare, it’s just a measure of simple syrup combined with a serving of absinthe over crushed ice. A quick garnish of mint and you’ve got the complete cocktail ready to go.
Most absinthe louches when put over ice or chilled, that is it becomes cloudy – the oils imparting the flavor thicken and create a cloudy, creamy-looking cocktail. In this case, since I used Herbsaint, it was a lovely pale green that contrasted beautifully with the fuscia color of the hibiscus syrup.
If you’re new to absinthe and have only had it in bit amounts in cocktails, I highly suggest this Hibiscus Absinthe Frappe. Not only is it supremely easy to put together, with just two ingredients, it’s tasty and refreshing in a way that surprised me the first time I ordered one.
Modern absinthe doesn’t cause hallucinations or any ill after- effects other than those from drinking too much – as with any spirit. And with the many craft distilleries today, there are quite a few dabbling in absinthe.
My absolute favorite absinthe is made right here in Louisville by Copper & Kings. Their absinthe is often infused – the ginger-infused absinthe is to die for – and sometimes aged in whiskey barrels. It’s high proof and not for the faint at heart, but it is absinthe you can sip on all day, if done responsibly.
In this cocktail I used Herbsaint because I wanted to showcase that light green color of the louche as the spirit cooled over the cracked ice. I was not disappointed. For a garnish, I opened a bag of dried sweetened hibiscus flowers from Trader Joe’s and put a small sprig of mint inside it to peek out.
For those of you curious about the other recipes in the Quarantine Series, I’ll put them here before you skim past to get to the recipe. We had Quarantine Highball week (Highball Whiskey Spritz and a That’s No Moon Lavender Orange Highball, It Ain’t All Sunhine and Peaches, Petals to the Metal Hibiscus Highball and a Root Beer Highball. ) Quarantine Donut cocktails (Maple Caramel Long John, Pecan Sticky Bun cocktail and Blueberry Cake Donut, Boston Cream Cocktail and Apple Fritter Cocktail). Quarantine Juleps, (Breakfast Julep, the Pineapple Sage Rum Julep, Elvis Julep (peanut butter-banana), Root Beer Float Julep, and the Persian Julep (rose-apricot) ). Quarantine Old Fashioneds (Breakfast Wakey Wakey, Smoke and Spice, Home School, Taco Truck, and Campari/Bitter Lessons ). Quarantine Manhattans (Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan), Coffee Manhattan, Chocolate Ginger Manhattan, French Quarter Manhattan, and the Caramel Orange Manhattan.) Quarantine Whiskey Sours (Blackberry Sunset, Whiskey Tiki, Blue Mood Orange, Ya Basic, and Peach Rosemary). Quarantine Smashes (Whiskey Smash, Blackberry Sage Smash, Pineapple Tiki Smash, Strawberry Basil Smash and the Coffee Cherry Smash.)
Hibiscus Absinthe Frappe
- 2 oz absinthe
- ¾ oz hibiscus ginger simple syrup**
- Garnish: dried hibiscus flower with mint sprig
- Fill a rocks or nick and nora glass with crushed ice. Add the simple syrup and the absinthe. Give the cocktail a quick stir or two, then garnish with a hibiscus and mint.