I first sampled Absinthe while visiting Austria in 2001. The owner of the guest house where I was staying invited me to join other guests for a nightcap. What he served to us was hausgemacht absinthe, homebrewed with a combination of herbs passed down through at least 3 generations. Austrians are known for brewing Absinthe with very little noticeable anise flavor, something I have sampled nowhere else. It had a gentle green color, which turned to a cloudy, milky white when served in the traditional manner of pouring cold water over a sugar cube resting on an ornate spoon into a serving of absinthe. One serving led to many servings. It produced a mighty headache the next morning…
Since my introduction to absinthe, I’ve seen it served many ways, including in the Bohemian fashion where an alcohol-soaked sugar cube is lit on fire and dropped into a glass of Absinthe, along with a shot glass of water. I’ve also seen it served with an ornate fountain of sorts, with a spigot that slowly drips water over a sugar cube. Properly serving Absinthe seems very tedious.
Ever since visiting The Fountain on Locust in St. Louis, I’ve had a thing for Absinthe and Champagne together in cocktails. I had a Hemingway while there, a drink attributed to Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon where he wrote of drinking 3 to 5 cocktails a day that included a shot of absinthe with the remainder of the glass full of Champagne.
While I’m not suggesting you eat 3 to 5 of these a day, I was thinking New Year’s Eve often brings about a surplus of bubbly. So perhaps you’ll make these cupcakes to ring in the New Year.
Tip: If you don’t have absinthe and don’t wish to purchase it (small bottles are hard to locate and it is often around $50 in the store), just double the champagne in the frosting recipe below. It works well without it and you’ll have a delicious champagne flavored treat. These cupcakes are great with and without absinthe.
Absinthe Bubbly Cupcakes
Makes 24, gluten-free and dairy-free
1/4 cup champagne