How to Make an Absinthe Suissesse, the Perfect Brunch Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

Most pastis liqueurs are French, but one called Herbsaint is made in New Orleans. Herbsaint's original name was Legendre Absinthe, but since it wasn't a true absinthe (which was very illegal at the time), The Powers That Be forced a name change, when it became Herbsaint. As far as I can tell, the Absinthe Suissesse most likely cropped up in that short time before Herbsaint was called Herbsaint.

But there's the Suissesse deal. My best guess is that some Swiss lady (une Suissesse, n'est-çe pas?) living in New Orleans drank her pastis with milk at brunch, and an enterprising bartender embellished it from there. You'll notice the base is similar to the classic Ramos Gin Fizz, but without the citrus juice. It wouldn't surprise me if a small squeeze of lime would be a pleasant surprise in this drink. You can also change up the drink by omitting either the orgeat or creme de menthe and doubling the amount of the other one.

When making your Absinthe Suissesse, the main thing to keep in mind is that as a brunch drink, it shouldn't be too sweet. Keep a light hand on the orgeat and crème de menthe and you'll be fine. On the other hand, if you want to serve it as a decadent dessert drink, ditch the half-and-half and blend the whole thing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

As always with drinks involving raw egg whites, keep in mind who is on the receiving end. Someone who is infirm shouldn't be drinking one of these, but they probably aren't drinking to begin with. The lowest risk path is to use pasteurized egg whites. Personally, I throw caution to the wind on matters like this.

Absinthe Suissesse
1-1/2 oz absinthe (or Herbsaint)
1/4 oz orgeat
1/4 oz green crème de menthe
1 egg white
1 dash orange flower water (optional)
1 oz half-and-half
Shake vigorously without ice for 30 seconds. Add ice cubes and shake well to combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Alternate preparation: Blend in a blender or milkshake machine without ice for 10 seconds. Add ice, shake well, and strain.

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Sarina Zutshi
Sarina Zutshi

I used to make (drink) the hell outta those at Brennans... hurry back!

Andrew Zutshi
Andrew Zutshi

Sarina Zutshi, next time I'm there were having four.... Teen of these.

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