Nineteen-Twenty Pick-Me-Up Cocktail
2/3 Pernod Absinthe. (1 1/2 oz Henri Bardouin Pastis)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters)
1 Dash Gomme Syrup. (1/3 tsp. Rich Simple Syrup)
Shake well, strain into medium size wine-glass, and fill balance with soda water.
The question here is, “What would this cocktail have been made with? True Absinthe or a Wormwood free substitute like Pernod or Ricard?”
As we noted before, Absinthe was banned in most countries between 1910 and 1915. Therefore, in pretty much any cocktail recipe which dates from 1920 through to 2006 and calls for “Absinthe”, the author really means Pernod or Ricard.
Fortunately, in the case of this cocktail it is an easy call. The name suggests it is from 1920 and it uses the term “Pernod Absinthe” in the recipe. 1920 was the year France once again allowed anise flavored liqueurs to be manufactured and sold. Pernod et fils was one of the first out of the gate with a wormwood-free reformulation of its Absinthe.
So, yeah, this recipe should be made with a Wormwood-free anise flavored liqueur.
I’m using Henri Bardouin Pastis, which is one of my favorite Wormwood-free Anise flavored beverages. It’s a bit less sweet and more complex than Pernod, Herbsaint, or Ricard. The only downside to using Bardouin Pastis in cocktails is that some of the flavoring oils have a tendency to drop out of solution when it is shaken with ice and chilled rapidly. It’s still tasty, but the oils float to the top and form an ugly white film.
The big difference between Absinthe and most of the Wormwood-free substitutes, aside from the lack of Artemesia absinthium in the botanicals, is the presence of sugar in the product.
When making an Absinthe drip, most people add at least some sugar. When Pernod et fils developed their new products post-ban, it seems like they made a conscious decision to make the Absinthe ritual simpler. They added sugar to the products in the bottle. So instead of dripping water over sugar into the Absinthe, all you had to do was add water.
You can make this cocktail with Absinthe or with a Wormwood-free substitute. Simply take into consideration the lack of sugar in the Absinthe and go a bit heavier on the Sugar Syrup.
For some reason, maybe it’s the large portion of Absinthe, someone inevitably orders one of these every time we do Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic Bar. It’s hard to mind too much, as the soda sort of mitigates the large portion of spirits. Anyway, if you like Absinthe, it’s actually quite a pleasant drink to sip on a hot day.
This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.