I went to a St. George Spirits tasting a few months ago, and since then have not been able to get their absinthe verte out of my mind. Lance Winters, their master distiller, created an atypical absinthe that uses star anise and a number of herbs which include mint, tarragon, basil, and even stinging nettles. Instead of being an overpowering licorice experience, the absinthe verte has a very interesting herbal flavor.
Most cocktails use only a dash or a rinse of absinthe, and I’ve survived all these years using pastis in recipes calling for absinthe. So for the first cocktail I made at home using the St. George absinthe I decided to go all out and go with an absinthe frappée. It’s another one of these lazy summer drinks that can be made directly in the glass.
There is no need for fancy absinthe fountains or spoons here. You just fill an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice. Add an ounced of absinthe. Add an ounce of filtered water and watch the absinthe turn opaque. This is the famous louche effect, an opalescence that is the result of alcohol-soluble compounds, mainly trans-anethol, coming out of solution with the addition of water, and forming small droplets. Add a little more crushed ice as necessary. Swizzle with a cocktail spoon or a swizzle stick. Add a straw and pick a comfortable chair outside to enjoy your absinthe experience. Taste and add a little bit of simple syrup if you would like; this absinthe is already sweetened so it does not need much if any.
The first few sips will be intense and anise/licorice-forward from the wormwood, fennel, and star anise which are the main ingredients in this absinthe. Then as your tongue gets slightly numb and the ice starts melting, you will enjoy the various botanicals that are used in the production of this absinthe verte.
Here is Lance Winters talking about his absinthe verte.