Absinthe Frappé – Original 1870s Recipe

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Absinthe Frappé

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American




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How to make the original 1870s Absinthe Frappé


  • 1.5 oz 45 ml Soda Water

  • 1 tsp 5 ml Simple Syrup

  • 1.5 oz 45 ml Absinthe


  • Technique: Sax Soda Shake
  • Fill a glass with shaved or crushed ice.
  • Add the absinthe, syrup and add one small ice cube to the cocktail shaker and shake until the ice fully melts.
  • Add soda water into the already shaken drink in the shaker.
  • Pour the drink into the glass filled with ice.

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What Does The Absinthe Frappé Taste Like?

It tastes like a very strong absinthe soda. It’s good, but the star anise/absinthe flavor is as strong as a traditional absinthe drip. The drink is packed with ice, which helps soften the flavor a little. But, if you’re not an absinthe lover, this may not be your drink.

History Of The Absinthe Frappé.

The Absinthe Frappé was invented by Cayetano Ferrér while working at “Aleix’s Coffee-House” in New Orleans. Built in 1806 and located at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville, “The Old Absinthe House” began as an importer of Spanish goods for the company Juncadella & Font. After Francisco Juncadella died in 1820, his partner Pedro Font moved back to Spain, and the business continued to be run by the Juncadella family. In 1846, Mrs. Juncadella’s nephew, Jacinto Aleix, opened a bar on the ground floor known as Aleix’s Coffee-House. Aleix’s Coffee-House rose to fame in 1869 when the Spanish-born and French-trained bartender Cayetano Ferrér immigrated to New Orleans and began heavily utilizing Absinthe like the drinks he had made back in France. In 1874, Cayetano Ferrér leased the bar and renamed it the “Absinthe Room” with his wife, three children, and Uncle Leon helping run it. Ferrér ran the bar till the beginning of prohibition in 1920 and sold the marble bar and soda fountain fixtures to Pierre Cazebonne, who relocated them to 400 Bourbon Street. At the end of prohibition, Pierre Cazebonne employed Cayetano Ferrér’s son, Jacinto Ferrér, to make absinthe drinks at the bar the same way his father used to at the Absinthe Room.

The original Absinthe Frappé recipe was recorded in Stanley Arthur’s 1938 book “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’em.” Arthur learned it from the 70-year-old Jacinto Ferrér, who still mixed the drink like his father did in the 1870s.

How To Prepare An Absinthe Drip

Jacinto Ferrér provided Stanley Arthur with the traditional Absinthe Frappé method.

Fill a small highball glass with cracked or shaved ice. Pour in the sugar sirup, then the absinthe substitute, and drip water (seltzer or other charged water will improve it) slowly while frappéing with a spoon. Continue jiggling the barspoon until the glass becomes well frosted.

Stanley Arthur

Stanley Arthur also states that a cocktail shaker can be used, too. I prefer combining these two methods by filling the glass with shaved ice, shaking the absinthe and syrup, and then adding soda water to the cocktail shakier right before pouring it into the glass filled with shaved ice. My method sounds like a lot of work, and I agree after reading what I just wrote, but in practice, it’s not that much extra work. The drink will taste the same regardless, but it will be a bit bubbly shaken. This method isn’t true to the 19th-century cocktail frappé style, but it keeps the same spirit and results in a better-aerated drink.

Recipe Resources

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