Make Distilled Absinthe

Categories: How To

This week, we're bringing you a three-part blog series on absinthe, which will cover how to make distilled absinthe, how to make absinthe from kits, and where to buy the best absinthe. 

Absinthe-glass_sized.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
A glass of absinthe.
Since the 18th century, absinthe, aka the "Green Fairy," has been a popular and potent drink among Bohemians and liquor snobs. This herbal spirit has such a reputation for intoxication (it can be anywhere from 110 to 144 proof) that until 2007, it was illegal in the US.

Thankfully, absinthe is now back on the market in the US, and several different brands are available for sale at high-end liquor stores. But if you subscribe to the adage "If you want something done right, do it yourself," we'll show you how to make your own.


It's not easy, but it can be done. The most difficult part of the process is distillation, which is why we're going to give the basics, but leave the rest to the experts.

Some people have permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to distill alcohol for ethanol vehicle fuel, but without said permits, it's illegal to distill anything in the United States. That being said, you can buy a still at www.milehidistilling.com, or learn how to make your own at www.moonshine-still.com

So you have your still. Now, you're just eight steps away from drinking your own absinthe. Here's a list of the herbal ingredients you'll need to finish the job (all of these should be available at local herbal shops like Chakra 4 Herbs and Chinese Medicine Herb):

(all ingredient amounts are per one liter of booze)
Common variety wormwood, 19 grams
Roman wormwood, 23 grams
Fennel, 22 grams
Star anise, 30 grams
Coriander seeds, 4 grams
Hyssop, 8 grams
Angelica root, 5 grams
Mint leaves, 5 grams
Melissa leaves, 2 grams
Liquorice root, 5 grams

You will also need a funnel, two steeping containers with air-tight lids, a stainless steel mesh, and purified water.

Step 1: Pour ethyl alcohol (at least 170 proof) into one of the steeping containers. Add all of the herbs listed above except for the Melissa leaves, mint leaves, and licorice root.
Step 2: Seal the container and store it a dark place (like a closet) for a month. Gently shake the vessel every now and then.
Step 3: Put the stainless steel mesh into your funnel and insert the funnel into your still. Pour the steeped herbs and alcohol you've been storing into the funnel.
Step 4: Pour purified water through the herbs still stuck in the stainless steel mesh. Don't fill the still past ¾ capacity. Afterwards, discard any herbs remaining in the steel mesh.
Step 5: Distill the contents of your still (visit homedistiller.org for instructions on how to do this).
Step 6: Take the freshly-distilled alcohol and add the mint leaves, Melissa leaves, and licorice root. Let the herbs steep for about a week.
Step 7: Take the steeped mixture and pour it through the stainless steel mesh and funnel into a new container. Pour purified water through the funnel until the absinthe is diluted to your liking.
Step 8: Get your drink on (sugar cubes optional).

If you'd like to make your own absinthe but don't want to mess with distilling, check back with us tomorrow to learn how to make absinthe via filtration and with absinthe kits.

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8 comments
goodgrief
goodgrief

If your going to tell people to do their homework then perhaps you should do yours ! Absinthe in the US does not contain or only trace amts of the thujold extract from the wormwood and thus does not render the original recipe that came from the Swiss/French and this is what real Absinthe drinkers are looking for ...you have to order it from Europe to get the real deal....

dfrost6
dfrost6

how much of the ethyl alc. do you poor into the mixture of herbs?

Boggy
Boggy

Licorice's place is either in distillation if it is a blanche, or post-colouration, i.e. collage if it is a verte. The recipe above won't produce either of them.

Loretta9799
Loretta9799

Do your own research! Don't go the ways of articles like these, which is a horrible idea to put out there for the masses. Absinthe is now LEGAL and advising people to distill their own or use a kit is a good way to get people in trouble or having it banned again due to your misinformation. I love Absinthe and all of its history, what the writer is doing is tarnishing a beautiful thing. It sickens me that you would even suggest this to your readers.

Veronagentleman
Veronagentleman

Agree with all belwo. Distillation of quality absinthe is a time consuming, time honored tradition and required skill and finesse.

Bob
Bob

It is a lot harder to make drinkable absinthe than these instructions imply. As for the kits, these create a horrible concoction that you will never finish.

Joe
Joe

You cannot make quality absinthe without distillation. The dreck that comes with using kits is not absinthe but horribly flavored vodka. Save your money and avoid breaking federal law. Currently, there are several authentic and well crafted varieties of absinthe available in the US which not only taste great but is far less expensive than getting busted for moonshining.

Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson

Instead of using star anise and licorise root I would recommend using about 4 oz. of green anise (anise seed). You'll get a much better tasting product. Most modern absinthe producers don't use star anise and as far as I know none of them use licorise root.

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