Absinthe Sour


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Written By cocktailflavors.com
Absinthe Sour_001

Introduction to the Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour is a cocktail that intrigues with its complex character. It’s a drink that marries the potent, anise-flavored absinthe with the bright acidity of lemon. This concoction is not just a beverage; it’s an experience that harks back to the days of bohemian artists and writers.

For those seeking a cocktail that’s both refreshing and bold, the Absinthe Sour is a perfect choice. Its rich history and unique flavor profile make it a standout drink. Let’s dive into the world of this captivating cocktail and discover what makes it so special.

Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, the Absinthe Sour is sure to leave a lasting impression. Its balance of sweet, sour, and herbal notes is a testament to the art of mixology. Read on to learn how to craft this classic cocktail at home.

Key Facts About the Absinthe Sour

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 22-28% ABV
  • Calories: Around 180-200 kcal per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled coupe glass
  • Typical Garnish: A dash of Angostura bitters

Interesting Facts about the Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour is a modern twist on the classic sour formula. It’s a drink that has gained popularity among those who appreciate the storied past of absinthe. The cocktail’s use of egg white, while optional, adds a silky texture that complements the robust flavors of absinthe.

Despite its strong flavor, the Absinthe Sour is surprisingly approachable. It’s a cocktail that has the power to convert even those skeptical of absinthe’s licorice notes. The drink’s revival is part of a broader resurgence in classic cocktails, appealing to a new generation of drinkers.

Absinthe Sour Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour offers a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate. The initial herbal punch of absinthe is softened by the citrus zing of fresh lemon juice. The simple syrup brings a necessary sweetness, creating a harmonious blend.

This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a drink with depth. It’s suited for a variety of occasions, from a sophisticated dinner party to a casual gathering with friends. The Absinthe Sour is a versatile drink that can be enjoyed year-round.

Its bold flavor profile makes it a favorite among those who appreciate classic cocktails with a twist. The Absinthe Sour is a drink that commands attention and is sure to spark conversation.

History of the Absinthe Sour

The origins of the Absinthe Sour are as enigmatic as the spirit itself. Absinthe, often called ‘The Green Fairy,’ has a storied past, intertwined with artists and writers who championed its inspirational effects. The cocktail is a relatively recent innovation that pays homage to this history.

During the 19th century, absinthe became immensely popular in Europe, especially in France. It was a staple in cafes and bars, where it was traditionally served with water and a sugar cube. The Absinthe Sour, however, is a modern creation that utilizes the spirit in a new way.

The cocktail emerged as part of the craft cocktail movement, which sought to revive and reinvent classic drinks. The Absinthe Sour is a testament to the enduring appeal of absinthe and its ability to adapt to contemporary tastes.

Absinthe Sour Ingredients

  • Absinthe: 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) – The backbone of the cocktail, providing a potent, herbal base.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: 3/4 oz (22 ml) – Adds a refreshing tartness that balances the absinthe.
  • Simple Syrup: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Offers sweetness to counteract the sour elements.
  • Egg White: 1 (optional) – Creates a creamy texture and frothy top when shaken.
  • Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes – Gives a spiced depth and complexity to the drink.

Did you know? The Absinthe Sour is a modern cocktail that showcases the versatility of absinthe beyond the traditional drip method.

Preparing Absinthe Sour

Absinthe Sour Method

Creating the perfect Absinthe Sour requires attention to detail. Start by combining the absinthe, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. If you’re using egg white, add it now to create a rich froth.

Shake the mixture without ice first to emulsify the egg white. This ‘dry shake’ is crucial for achieving the desired texture. After about 15 seconds, fill the shaker with ice and shake again until the cocktail is well-chilled.

Double strain the mixture into your chilled coupe glass to ensure a smooth pour. Finish by topping the drink with two dashes of Angostura bitters. The result is a beautifully layered cocktail that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

Serving Suggestion for the Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour is traditionally served in a chilled coupe glass. The wide bowl of the coupe allows the aromas of the cocktail to be fully appreciated. The stem also keeps the drink cool by preventing warmth from your hand from transferring to the glass.

Garnish is minimal to keep the focus on the drink itself. A simple dash of bitters adds a visual appeal and a hint of spice. The Absinthe Sour’s presentation is elegant and understated, reflecting the sophistication of the cocktail.

Elevating the Absinthe Sour

  • Quality Absinthe: Choose a high-quality absinthe for the best flavor foundation.
  • Fresh Citrus: Always use fresh lemon juice rather than bottled for a brighter taste.
  • Proper Technique: Master the ‘dry shake’ to achieve the perfect frothy texture.

For an extra touch of elegance, consider expressing a lemon peel over the glass before serving. The oils released add a subtle fragrance that enhances the drinking experience.

Experiment with different types of bitters to find your preferred flavor profile. Each variety can add a unique twist to the classic Absinthe Sour.

Absinthe Sour Finished Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Absinthe Sour

If absinthe is not to your taste or unavailable, consider using pastis or anise-flavored liqueurs as a substitute. While the flavor will differ, these alternatives can still create a delightful sour cocktail.

For a non-alcoholic version, explore herbal syrups or non-alcoholic spirits that mimic the botanical notes of absinthe. This allows everyone to enjoy the essence of the Absinthe Sour, regardless of alcohol preference.

Similar cocktails that share the sour profile include the Whiskey Sour and the Amaretto Sour. These drinks offer a similar balance of sweet and tart flavors but with different base spirits.

Add a Twist to the Absinthe Sour

Infuse your simple syrup with herbs like rosemary or thyme to introduce an additional layer of flavor. This herbal infusion can complement the botanicals in the absinthe.

Consider adding a splash of sparkling water or champagne for a fizzy variation. This not only lightens the drink but also adds a celebratory flair.

For a visually stunning twist, float a thin layer of red wine on top of the cocktail. This technique, known as a ‘New York Sour,’ adds complexity and a beautiful color gradient.

Preferred Liquors for the Absinthe Sour

When crafting an Absinthe Sour, the choice of absinthe is crucial. Brands like Pernod Absinthe and Lucid offer traditional flavors that are well-suited for this cocktail. Their quality ensures the drink’s authenticity and depth.

For a more modern take, consider absinthes that boast a lower anise content. These varieties can provide a more approachable flavor for those new to the spirit.

Ultimately, the best absinthe is one that you enjoy on its own. This personal preference will ensure that your Absinthe Sour is tailored to your taste.

Similar Cocktails to the Absinthe Sour

If you’re fond of the Absinthe Sour, you might also enjoy the Sazerac. This New Orleans classic also features absinthe, but with rye whiskey as the main spirit.

The Corpse Reviver #2 is another cocktail that includes absinthe. It’s a citrus-forward drink with a complex flavor profile that’s both refreshing and potent.

For a simpler option, the classic Absinthe Drip is a traditional way to enjoy the spirit. It involves diluting absinthe with ice-cold water, allowing you to savor its herbal nuances.

Food Pairings to Go with the Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour pairs well with savory appetizers like charcuterie or cheese plates. The cocktail’s bold flavors can stand up to rich and salty foods.

For a more adventurous pairing, try spicy or umami-rich dishes. The cocktail’s herbal notes can complement the complexity of these flavors.

On the sweeter side, consider pairing the Absinthe Sour with lemon-based desserts. The tartness of the lemon in both the drink and the dessert can create a delightful harmony.

Absinthe Sour FAQs

Can I make an Absinthe Sour without egg white? Yes, the egg white is optional. It adds a creamy texture but can be omitted or replaced with aquafaba for a vegan alternative.

Is Absinthe Sour a strong drink? Yes, with an ABV of 22-28%, it’s a potent cocktail. Enjoy it responsibly.

What can I use instead of Angostura bitters? Other bitters like Peychaud’s or orange bitters can be used for a different flavor profile.

How important is the quality of absinthe in an Absinthe Sour? Very important. High-quality absinthe will significantly improve the taste of your cocktail.

Can I use bottled lemon juice? Fresh lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor, but bottled can be used if necessary.

Absinthe Sour_001

Absinthe Sour

The Absinthe Sour is a tantalizing twist on the classic sour cocktail, featuring the herbaceous and anise-flavored absinthe as its star ingredient. This cocktail balances the strong flavors of absinthe with the tartness of lemon and the sweetness of simple syrup, creating a complex and refreshing drink.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Calories 190 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Coupe glass


  • 1 1/2 oz absinthe
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 egg white optional, for frothiness
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the absinthe, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if using).
  • Shake vigorously without ice to emulsify the egg white, for about 15 seconds.
  • Add a generous amount of ice to the shaker and shake again until well-chilled.
  • Double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Top with two dashes of Angostura bitters.


The use of egg white is optional and adds a creamy texture and frothy top to the cocktail. If you prefer to avoid raw eggs, a few drops of aquafaba can be used as a vegan alternative. Always use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
Keyword absinthe, Absinthe Sour, bitters, Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, Egg White, Lemon, Simple Syrup, Sour

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