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Absinthe Frappe Recipe

The Absinthe Frappe, a classic New Orleans cocktail, is timeless. However, the boozy, green, anise-flavored beverage requires a special palate. Follow our easy Absinthe Frappe recipe and see if you’re up to the taste challenge.

Absinthe Frappe from Above

We weren’t the first to sip an Absinthe Frappe in New Orleans.

Legend has it that Robert E. Lee, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde all imbibed the refreshing potent potable in the 19th century – a time when absinthe flowed freely in New Orleans bars. While prohibition and a ban on absinthe stopped the flow for almost a century, this classic cocktail is back and it’s as refreshing and potent as ever.

What Is the Absinthe Frappe?

Absinthe Frappe with Green Background
Don’t underestimate the Absinthe Frappe. This cocktail may be green but it’s also potent.

Don’t underestimate the Absinthe Frappe.

Simple to craft and with roots in New Orleans, the pre-prohibition cocktail looks fun with its green color and preponderance of crushed ice. However, the Absinthe Frappe packs a wallop thanks to its main ingredient – absinthe.

We’re not exaggerating when we say that the Absinthe Frappe is potent. Absinthe, the drink’s primary ingredient, has an ABV that can be as high as high as 70%. As for its neon green color, seeing is believing.

Absinthe Frappe with Yellow Background
The Absinthe Frappe inspired Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough to write the aptly named song Absinthe Frappe.

The Absinthe Frappe’s potency isn’t a bad thing but we suggest moderation. After all, this classic cocktail was iconic enough in its heyday to inspire a song called Absinthe Frappe in the Broadway show It Happened in Nordland.

The lyrics in that 1904 song promise to make life worthwhile again after just one sip. While we can’t promise the same with our classic Absinthe Frappe recipe, we certainly hope that the drink takes you on a boozy ride.

History of the Absinthe Frappe

Old Absinthe House in New Orleans
Old Absinthe House is one of the most historic bars in New Orleans.

Drinking an Absinthe Frappe at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street is like taking a trip back in time.

Cayetano Ferrer invented the green tipple in 1874 at this very space. Originally called Aleix’s Coffee House, the bar eventually changed its name to Old Absinthe House based on the popularity of the refreshing cocktail’s main ingredient. Talk about the tail wagging the dog!

Absinthe Frappe at Old Absinthe House in New Orleans
Imbibing an Absinthe Frappe at Old Absinthe Hose is a must for cocktail connoisseurs who visit New Orleans. We imbibed this neon green Absinthe Frappe during our visit at the historic watering hole.

The Absinthe Frappe fell out of favor from 1912 to 2007. During these years, absinthe was banned in the United States due to fear that wormwood extract, formerly a key component of absinthe, caused madness.

Fun Fact
Although fears of absinthe causing madness have abated, the green elixir’s modern iteration has a reduced level of thujone, the active chemical in wormwood.

Banned for almost a century, absinthe isn’t as popular as vodka or rum. But those who like anise-flavored liqueurs like Pastis and Herbsaint will enjoy drinking Absinthe Frappes blended with absinthe, simple syrup, soda water, mint leaves and crushed ice.

Discover the most iconic New Orleans cocktails as well as the city’s most iconic bars. Then explore the best Mardi gras cocktails.

Absinthe Frappe Ingredients

Absinthe Frappe Ingredients
Our Absinthe Frappe recipe just has a handful of ingredients – absinthe, sparkling water, fresh mint and ice.

The Absinthe Frappe lives up to its classic cocktail status with its short and sweet ingredient list. Emulating the Absinthe House’s original recipe, our Absinthe Frappe recipe has the following ingredients:

  • Absinthe
  • Simple Syrup
  • Sparkling Water
  • Crushed Ice
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Mint Leaves (garnish)
Bottle of Absinthe
We used this French bottle of Absente 55 Absinthe to craft our Absinthe Frappe

Absinthe is the one ingredient that you may need to make a special effort to procure. However, finding absinthe at a liquor store shouldn’t be a challenge. It’s been well over a decade since the ban on this liquor was lifted in America.

Pro Tip
Save money by making simple syrup from scratch. It’s as easy as boiling water and sugar in a 1:1 ratio until the sugar dissolves. Make sure you stir frequently so that the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Let the syrup cool before covering and storing in an airtight container.

Absinthe Frappe and Absinthe Bottle from Above
We were pleased with this Absinthe Frappe that we crafted with Absente 55 Absinthe.

We purchased a bottle of Absente 55 Absinthe for a few reasons. First, we wanted absinthe with a green hue so that our Absinthe Frappe would be green. Second, we wanted French absinthe. And, third, the relatively low ABV of 55% appealed to us.

True Confession
Absente 55 Absinthe isn’t as green we thought it would be but we’re okay with that. Neon drinks are highly overrated. We’re more into flavor and this absinthe hit the right notes.

How To Craft an Absinthe Frappe Cocktail

Crafted Absinthe Frappe
Crafting an Absinthe Frappe is fast and easy. This one took us just five minutes from start to finish.

You don’t need any special bar tools to craft an Absinthe Frappe (or two) at home. The recipe is surprisingly easy despite its fancy name.

We use a Japanese jigger , cocktail strainer and Boston shaker in our recipe but you can improvise if you’re missing any or all of these bar tools.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Pouring Absinthe for Absinthe Frappe
Using a Japanese jigger makes measuring absinthe and other liquors fun.

The first step is to measure the absinthe and simple syrup. We use a Japanese jigger to measure both liquids to insure accurate measurements and avoid spillage.

Click here to purchase a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Pouring Absinthe into Shaker for Absinthe Frappe Recipe
Once you pour the absinthe and and simple syrup into a shaker, it’s time to shake things up.

You’ll want to pour the two liquids into a shaker immediately after you measure each. We use a Boston shaker to craft this and other drinks. We have other shakers but this is the one that never leaks and is easiest to clean.

Click here to purchase a Boston Shaker if you don’t have a shaker or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Straining Absinthe Frappe
You’ll want to fill your lowball glass halfway with crushed ice before you strain the cocktail.

The next step is to add ice and vigorously shake the absinthe and simple syrup. After 10 to 20 secondso of vigorous shaking, strain the chilled ingredients into a lowball glass that you’ve prefilled halfway with crushed ice.

Pouring Sparkling Water into Absinthe Frappe
A splash of sparkling water adds fizz to the Absinthe Frappe.

The final steps are to splash in some sparkling water, top with additional crushed ice and add a handful of mint leaves as garnish.

Absinthe Frappe Alternatives

Crafted Absinthe Frappe with Mint Leaves
We had to kiss a lot of mint leaves to find the best ones to craft our Absinthe Frappe.

Not everybody loves the anisette flavor of absinthe. Those who do will want to experiment beyond the Absinthe Frappe. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Replace the absinthe with Herbsaint or Pastis if you can’t find absinthe at your local liquor stores.
  • Craft a Corpse Reviver with absinthe, gin, Lillet blanc, Cointreau and lemon juice if you’re in the mood for a more tart absinthe cocktail.
  • Go old school and drink absinthe from a fountain dripper. Don’t forget the sugar cube!

Absinthe Frappe Recipe

Absinthe Frappe with White Background

Absinthe Frappe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Absinthe Frappe may be a classic New Orleans cocktail, but you can craft the refreshing potent potable at home in just five minutes.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces absinthe
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces sparkling water
  • 6 mint leaves
  • crushed ice
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine absinthe and simple sugar in a shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds with ice until the ingredients are chilled and blended.
  3. Strain into a lowball or rocks glass half-filled with crushed ice.
  4. Add a splash of sparkling water.
  5. Top off with more crushed ice.
  6. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Notes

  • You can replace the club soda or seltzer instead of sparkling water.
  • You can replace the absinthe with Pastis or Herbsaint.
  • You can use a larger glass if you want an icier beverage.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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