The Green Devil (Absinthe recipe)

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Last year, we made a bunch of infused liquors as holiday gifts. The most outrageous was an unfiltered, unsweetened absinthe: The Green Devil. Recently, someone asked for the recipe – so, I decided to do a quick post:

The Green Devil

The base for the infusion is a strong, clear spirit. You can use vodka, or strong rum – but, that seems like a waste. My preference is starting with pure Everclear and then diluting down to 80-100 proof after the infusion.

  • 750 ml. bottle of Everclear (151, or 180 proof)

Either drink some to make room, or pour it into a lager, sealed glass container. Then add the following:

  • One ounce dried chopped wormwood
  • One tablespoon dried angelica root
  • One teaspoon dried hyssop leaves

These are the 3 necessary ingredients for any absinthe recipe. They will add a lot of bitterness and color, but not much flavor. So, we should also add the following spices:

  • One tablespoon fennel or anise seeds
  • One half teaspoon coriander seeds
  • One quarter teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3-5 cardamom pods (crushed)

This creates the licorice/spicy flavor that helps to offset the bitterness.

Now wait

Store the container away from light and give it a good shake every day. 1 – 2 weeks is a sufficient amount of time. The longer you leave it, the stronger it will become. However, it will also become overbearingly bitter. The liquid should be dark green at this point.

Remove the herbs

Time to remove the herbs and sediment that has occurred. I find that a series of strainers works best.

  • Heavy mesh (or colander) to remove herbs.
  • Fine mesh to remove fibers/floaters.
  • Coffer filter to remove sediment.

Alternatively, you could use a real filter (like a Brita), but this would remove many off the oils that you just extracted.

Commercial absinthe is often re-distilled rather then filtered. This removes all the solids and color – leaving only the pure alcohol and oils.  Even if you had the ability to do this, I wouldn’t recommend it. It will not improve the taste  and you have to fake the color.

Dilute and bottle

The high alcohol is great for infusion, but not for drinking. Add enough distilled water to bring it between 80-100 proof. For instance, 750 ml 180 + 750 ml water = 1500 ml 90 proof.

What about sweetening?

This tastes awful!

Sorry, but real absinthe tastes incredibly bitter. That is why it is traditionally served with sugar and ice water.

Feel free to pre-sweeten the batch by adding sugar directly to the bottle. It may take a little while, but all the sugar should dissolve.


In addition to the herbs listed, many people also add one, or more of the following:

  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Balm
  • 1 Teaspoon White Sage
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nettle Leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Licorice Root
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Calamus
  • 2 Large Fresh Spear Mint Leaves
  • 1 Large Fresh Basil Leaf
  • 2 Large Stars, Star Anise


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