March 5th is National Absinthe Day. Absinthe is a classic spirit with an infamous past. Portrayed as an addictive and hallucinogenic drug, absinthe was banned throughout most of the 20th century in much of Europe and America. These beliefs have been proven false and the 1990's brought a resurgence of production. In 2007, the US government reversed its 95-year prohibition policy and allowed for the sale of absinthe.
Absinthe is a highly alcoholic, licorice flavored spirit that can be green or colorless. The principal botanicals are grande wormwood, green anise, and sweet fennel. The most traditional method to consume was to drip water over a sugar cube into the absinthe with 1 part spirit to 3-5 parts water to taste.
Death in the Afternoon was Ernest Hemingway's favorite cocktail. With my love of French 75s, is it any wonder that I'm featuring this recipe to celebrate today? Hemingway's instructions are: "Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly." As much as I love a night of tipsy drinking, I recommend sticking to less than 5 if you'd like to be able crawl home.
This reminds me of one of my other favorite Hemingway quotes.