The Green Fairy cocktail is a very old classic, probably one of the oldest cocktails in the world. It’s so named because that’s the nickname for its main ingredient, absinthe.
The History of the Green Fairy Cocktail
The Green Fairy cocktail, also known as the “La Fee Verte” (French for “The Green Fairy”), has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It gained popularity during the Belle Époque period in France, particularly in Parisian cafes and bars. The cocktail owes its name to absinthe, a highly alcoholic spirit that was once famously associated with artists, writers, and bohemian culture.
The original recipe called for you to drip ice cold water onto a sugar cube in absinthe until the cube melted. This would yield about 3-4 ounces of water to 1 ounce of absinthe.
But absinthe today is weaker than it was back then, so the recipe has adapted over the years.
The Mythology of the Green Fairy
The Green Fairy has an intriguing mythology associated with it. It was believed that absinthe had hallucinogenic properties and could induce a state of altered consciousness in which you might see fairies.
This led to its ban in many countries during the early 20th century. However, modern research has debunked these claims, attributing them to the high alcohol content rather than any specific psychoactive properties of absinthe.
To create a true Green Fairy cocktail, you will need the following ingredients:
- Absinthe: The star of the show, absinthe is a distilled spirit made from botanicals, including wormwood, anise, and fennel. It is known for its distinct green color and strong herbal flavor.
- Simple Syrup: A sweetener made from equal parts sugar and water. It balances out the bitterness of the absinthe. You can make your own homemade simple syrup.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Adds a tangy and refreshing element to the cocktail.
The lemon flavor actually leads here, but it’s quickly overtaken by the anise from the absinthe. The lemon and bitters make the anise flavor less overwhelming while the egg white gives it added richness and a bit of a frothy texture.
As with most absinthe-based drinks, if you’re one of those people who can’t stand black licorice flavor, you won’t like this drink and probably shouldn’t even try it.
But if you do, it’s something special. (As always, if you’re afraid to use raw egg, a pasteurized egg white based substitute product will work just fine.)
Tips for Serving
To truly appreciate the Green Fairy cocktail, it is important to serve it correctly. Here are some tips to enhance your drinking experience:
- Chill your glassware: Place your coupe or martini glass in the freezer for about 10 minutes before pouring the cocktail. This will help keep your drink cold and refreshing.
- Use quality absinthe: Invest in a high-quality absinthe brand for an authentic and flavorful experience. Cheaper alternatives may lack the complexity and depth of flavor that define this cocktail.
- Experiment with dilution: If you find the absinthe too strong or bitter, you can add a splash of chilled water to your cocktail shaker before shaking. This will help mellow out the flavors without diluting them too much.
To complement the unique flavors of the Green Fairy cocktail, consider pairing it with certain foods or snacks:
- Cheese Platter: The herbal notes in absinthe pair exceptionally well with creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert.
- Seafood Delights: Oysters or smoked salmon can enhance the floral and citrusy flavors of the cocktail.
- Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate beautifully complements the complex flavors of absinthe.
Related Cocktails to Try
The Green Fairy cocktail is a very old classic, probably one of the oldest cocktails in the world. It's so named because that's the nickname for its main ingredient, absinthe.
- 1 ounce absinthe
- 1 ounce water
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 egg white
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in all ingredients.
- Shake for at least 30 seconds to make sure the egg white is well-mixed.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.