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.
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 flower and mint.
- Heat 1 cup of water to a boil and add ½ tablespoon dried hibiscus flowers.
- Steep for 8 minutes. Strain, and add to a small saucepan.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and 1.5 inches of minced, peeled ginger root. (If you don’t have fresh ginger, add 5 pieces of dried ginger root and ½ tsp powdered ginger.)
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let steep for 30.
- Strain and refrigerate. Store in the fridge for 2 to 4 weeks.