Thursday, December 20, 2007

Drink Your Booze, Burn Your Fuel

Not the other way around!

With so many people finding absinthe available in the U.S., it's important that newcomers understand that the Czech fire show done with inferior absinthes may be fun when you're on vacation in Prague, but it is a party trick akin to beer bongs, keg stands, body shots, cement mixers, and its original inspiration in the 1990's: flaming Sambuca shots. Those games don't relate at all to how you would normally drink beer or spirits.

Thankfully, real absinthe distributors are taking the opportunity to explain the proper way to drink absinthe-- diluted or mixed in a cocktail. Ordering Kübler last night at Dalva, I asked "You don't burn it, do you?" and the bartender replied, "No, this isn't Czech garbage." Right answer!

So why not burn absinthe?

  • In its heyday, people drank their absinthe diluted with water-- they did not burn it-- no matter what the Czech producers may try to tell you,
  • It's DANGEROUS (see photo, via Static),
  • It is a waste of alcohol,
  • It does not encourage the absinthe to louche-- any cloudiness the caramelized sugar adds to the drink is not a louche effect at all.


  1. Hi!

    Yo talk a lot about the reasons to not burn the absinthe but, at least in Spain, what people do is burn the sugar before mixing it whit the water and absinthe.

    This is not a huge waste of alcohol, and this is not dangerous (the guys of the vids are really stupid! Drinkin some that is inflames not seems a good idea! XD).

    In the other hand, the taste if you burn the sugar is diferent... is like the absinthe were more thick... and less "like water".

    What do you think about?

  2. The question is simply "why." Every justification I've heard for burning absinthe doesn't make sense (except "it's a trick"), and I just think absinthe is best enjoyed cold. I like my food and drink prepared to be savored and enjoyed, and preparing absinthe with fire does not enhance the absinthe, rather it wastes and heats what I'm trying to drink cold.

  3. i agree, the best way to drink absinthe is to decanter water over the sugar,wait for it to louche, then sip.lovely!

  4. This method was 'invented' by people who neither drank actual absinthe, nor they new anything about it. It was invented to sell a completely different tasting imitation.

    On the other hand, you have no reason to buy absinthe if you are going to ruin the oomplexity of the taste.