Absinthe & Meringues & Absinthe Cocktails at Curio

by Aaron Beck on March 2, 2013

With Absinthe & Meringues on the brain, we wanted to learn a little more about our new limited-edition ice cream’s mystical main ingredient.

So earlier this week we took a trip to Curio at Harvest Pizzerria in German Village, where bartender Travis Owens shared some absinthe history, mixed a few classic absinthe cocktails, and demonstrated how to properly serve the once-outlawed libation.

What’s more, on the spot Owens (pictured above) and his cohort Joe Peppercorn, created two new cocktails with Absinthe & Meringues: the Green Fairy Godmother, a delicious new twist on the classic Corpse Reviver, as well as a new take on the Ramos Gin Fizz, the Ramos Jen(i) Fizz. You’ll find both drinks on Curio’s menu (and you’ll find the recipes when you scroll down through this post).

If you’re getting into a glass of straight-up absinthe, here’s what you’re getting into: a distilled, highly alcoholic (90 to 148 proof), anise-flavored spirit derived from the flowers and leaves of wormwood. Different varietals are created using sweet fennel and blends of different dried herbs.

In the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, absinthe peaked in popularity with the citizenry of Europe and the U.S. In Europe, especially in the cafe societies of Paris and Prague, absinthe had a strong hold on the imaginations of artists and writers. Many imbibers believed the “Green Fairy/Green Muse” inspired their works in ways nothing else possibly could (see Albert Maignan’s Green Muse or Edgar Degas’ L’Absinthe).

By 1912 in the U.S., absinthe was banned for its supposed psychoactive properties. When the U.S. absinthe ban was lifted in 2007, Owens was working at Bar 11, a cocktail spot in Columbus’ Short North.

“People were really curious about absinthe for a little bit when it was legal again,” Owens said. “Most people who asked for it, asked for a shot of it. I’d say, ‘Really? It’s about 130 proof. Are you sure?’ ”

Owens said he’d give the customer a taste from a dropper right on the tongue. Most people didn’t go further than that.

“Then all of a sudden people just stopped asking for it in general around here,” said Owens, who added that absinthe goes over much better Stateside when used as a minor ingredient in cocktails. “I think it’s just the anise, the black licorice flavor. The domestic palate isn’t as used to it the way it is in France and other places and in Europe.”

When taken straight, or tempered with a bit of sugar and ice cold water, absinthe indeed does have a heavy licorice flavor. There aren’t many I-can-take-or-leave-it opinions when it comes to the stuff. You either like the licorice action or you don’t. But on Tuesday, Owens showed us how versatile absinthe can be. He showed us how to properly serve and enjoy a glass of the green and then whipped up some gorgeous, magical cocktails. A variety of absinthes on the bar at Curio at Harvest in German Village:

The first step in serving absinthe—icing water:

 

Next, filling the glass with absinthe (left) before placing an absinthe spoon on the glass’ rim (right). Iced water is then allowed to slowly drip on a sugar cube, which sweetens and dilutes the absinthe:

Left: the final stages of sugar melted by drips of ice water and falling into a glass of absinthe. Right: a bit more ice water added to the mix creates a lovely light green and an ever-so-slightly creamy consistency. The taste and aroma is a bit earthy and woodsy:

Travis Owens, bartender at Curio at Harvest, working his way through the process of making one of the most refreshing and flavorful cocktails any of us had ever had: the Triumph:

Behold the Triumph, a stellar apéritif or digestif:

Left: the Triumph. Right: The Triumph’s ingredients, plus notes on a two other cocktails, the twist on the rye Manhattan known as the Remember the Maine and the Broken Shoe Shiner, a Pernod-and-egg concoction culled from Rogue Cocktails:

Left: coating the inside of an ice cold glass with absinthe. Right: the final stages of an expertly mixed Remember the Maine:

Remember the Maine, a smoky rye-based cocktail that calls for just a bit of absinthe:

Left: Pernod prepped to add to the Broken Shoe Shiner (right):

Absinthe & Meringues ice cream, straight no chaser:

Left: the Green Fairy Godmother. Right: the Ramos Jen(i) Fizz, a twist on the Ramos Gin Fizz:

RECIPES:

The Green Fairy Godmother

  • 1 Plymouth Gin
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano
  • 2 generous spoonfuls Jeni’s Absinthe Meringues ice cream
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon
  • Dash of absinthe
  • 2 dash simple syrup
  • Garnish with Peychaud’s bitters star
  1. Combine all
  2. Dry shake (no ice)
  3. Add ice and shake vigorously until well frothy
  4. Strain into a highball without ice
  5. Top with seltzer
  6. Garnish with 4 drops orange blossom water

The Ramos Jen(i) Fizz

  • 1.5 oz matcha syrup
  • ( 2:1 simple syrup infused with matcha tea)
  • 1 oz Plymouth gin
  • 3/4 oz Pernod
  • 1/2 oz heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon
  • 6 drops orange blossom water
  • 1 oz egg whites
  1. Combine all
  2. Dry shake (no ice)
  3. Add ice and shake vigorously until well frothy
  4. Strain into a highball without ice
  5. Top with seltzer
  6. Garnish with 4 drops orange blossom water

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