Recipes for absinthe generally have two parts. There is the maceration, which is the list of herbs to be soaked in the proof spirit prior to distillation, and the list of finish herbs, which are herbs infused into the spirit after the distillation. After the finish has had time to work its way into the liqueur, it is filtered and ready for use or storage. Absinthe should be bottled in tightly sealed containers, as with corks or screw caps. Absinthe should be stored in a cool location (steady 13-18°C), away from direct sunlight. Bottles with a cork may be stored on their sides and rotated to keep the cork moist. Bottles with screw on caps should be stored upright to prevent leaking.

Suisse La Bleue (clear absinthe)

(Primary maceration for distillation - 1.5 liters)

4 grams - Common Wormwood / Artemisia absinthium

8 grams - Green Anise (Seeds) / Pimpinella anisum

6 gram - Fennel Seed / Foeniculum vulgare

4 grams - Star Anise

3 grams - Peppermint Leaf / Mentha piperita

2 grams - Hyssop / Hyssopus

2 grams - Angelica root / Angelica archangelica

French Absinthe

(primary maceration for distillation - 1.5 liters)

3 grams - Common Wormwood

4 grams - Green Anise (Seeds)

2 gram - Fennel Seed

2 grams - Star Anise

2 grams - Angelica root

1 gram - Coriander


2 grams - Hyssop

2 gram - Melissa

Winston's La Fee Verte

(Primary Maceration for Distillation - 1.5 liters)

4 grams - Common Wormwood / Artemisia absinthium

6 grams - Green Anise (Seeds)

4 gram - Fennel Seed

8 grams - Star Anise

2 gram - Hyssop

4 grams - Peppermint Leaf

2 grams - Angelica root


2 grams - Hyssop

2 grams - Melissa

4 grams - Peppermint Leaf

Absinthe is prepared by steeping herbs in a neutral spirit and then distilling the product of the mixture. Wine is the traditional alcohol, called the 'proof spirit' for this process, although vodka is used for some recipes. After the steam distillation, additional herbs are allowed to infuse the distilled spirit, which is then filtered before consumption. Therefore, the steps to preparing absinthe are:

Obtain a neutral spirit. A prepared neutral spirit, such as vodka, could be used, or wine may be distilled to obtain a more concentrated spirit.

Add macerated herbs to the proof spirit. Allow the aromatic oils from the herbs to infuse the spirit. The dry herbs are mixed with the wine spirits or vodka or another spirit that is at least 85% ethanol. The maceration is allowed to rest for several days in a cool location out of direct light, shaken occasionally. At the end of this time, the mixture is filtered and added to water (half the volume of water as the amount of proof spirit, e.g., half a liter of water if a liter of alcohol was used).

Distill the maceration. The distillation process is essentially . The heads and tails, or the liquid obtained at the very beginning and end of the distillation, are discarded. The remaining liquid is collected and reserved. For some absinthe recipes, this is the final product.

Traditional green absinthe is prepared by adding more herbs to the distilled product. This step is referred to as 'the finish'. These herbs add flavor and impart the green color to the spirit. After the flavor and color of the finish herbs has been imparted to the spirit, it is then filtered and ready for use.

Recipe Notes

The proof spirit is usually distilled from wine.

Flowers and leaves of wormwood are preferred for their aromatic and fresh flavors. The stems of wormwood have a higher thujone content than the leaves and flowers and also impart more of a bitter note. Most recipes do not call for wormwood in the finish, because addition of the fresh herb at this point can add too much astringency. If wormwood in the finish is desired, it is recommended that a small quantity be used.

Wormwood, peppermint leaf, and hyssop are usually the source of the green color associated with absinthe. The louche is due to a reaction with the anise in the spirit.