Absinthe is not the most common drink to order at a bar. In fact, it was banned for 100 years due to its strong liquor content and a false myth that it causes hallucinations.
However, over the years, absinthe has made a comeback as strong as its intense flavor, and people are increasingly willing to give it a try.
It is not a great liquor to drink straight like whiskey or rum, no matter how much you think you’d enjoy its anise and fennel — licorice-like flavors. It is still an intense flavor and is best mixed in small portions within a delightful cocktail.
But now that you’re allowed to drink it, and you’re ready to give it a try, you might be wondering what the best absinthe brands are.
In this article, we’ll break down the 11 best ones so that you can select the brand you want to try first (or next!).
Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte
Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte is straightforward absinthe that has the licorice aroma one expects from the spirit and an agreeable, medium-body flavor.
Once you add water, you’ll get more sensual notes of cinnamon and lime on the nose and lemon, orange, and anise on the tongue.
Adding a bit of sugar won’t hurt either, especially if you want to bring the cinnamon flavors out even further.
This absinthe is made in the USA and uses botanicals sourced from Spain and Europe for a rich, high-quality overall experience.
St. George Absinthe Verte
St. George Spirits ensures you get true, authentic absinthe without any artificial flavors or colorings that you might see in the cheaper items.
Their Absinthe Verte uses botanical ingredients for a genuine herbal flavor.
And if this absinthe tastes like it was made with experienced distillers, it’s because it is. Although absinthe was banned, St. George kept making absinthe, as it was not illegal to produce, just to sell.
In this way, they are now ahead of the game compared to companies that waited to start making absinthe once it was legal.
Ultimately, this absinthe is complex and simultaneously innovative and classic, with licorice, lemon, and hyssop hints.
Pernod Absinthe Superieure
Pernod Absinthe sources their anise and wormwood, the essential ingredients in any genuine absinthe, from the region of Pontarlier, France.
Both grand and petite wormwood are included in the mix, as well as musk, hyssop, melissa, and herbal notes.
The goal of Pernod Absinthe distillery was to make a product as mysterious and intriguing as the stories around the liquor itself — and they succeeded.
They also provide many different options for drinking their Superieure Absinthe in creative, unique, and exciting ways.
La Clandestine Absinthe
La Clandestine produces a handcrafted Absinthe from the birthplace of the liquor — Couvet, Switzerland.
La Clandestine won the Golden Spoon award for absinthe in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and has continued winning medals and distinctions for the absinthe since.
This silky and light-bodied absinthe is more like candy than liquor but very shippable when mixed with water and converted into a milky white delight.
Copper & Kings Absinthe Alembic
Copper & Kings makes a 130 proof Absinthe Alembic with 65% alcohol content.
It’s created using the small-batch method for distilling, without chill-filtration or post-distillation to maintain the bold flavors.
Double distilled and with no added flavors, sugars, or colors, you’re sure to get one of the finest quality absinthes out there with this brand.
The Copper & Kings company also uses traditional copper pot distillation and somehow produces innovative, not-so-traditional results.
It’s bold but not offensive, flavorful and harmonious yet subtle and inviting, and incorporates grande wormwood, licorice, and sweet fennel notes.
The taste ends with a slow finish to wean you off of it elegantly.
Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure
It carries a history of bohemian and anti-prohibition culture and uses 100% natural herbs to respect the art of absinthe.
Complex and intriguing, this absinthe has a deep green color that’s all-natural — no additional coloring or flavoring added.
The suggestion is to serve this traditional, herbal, and harmonious mixture simply with ice-cold water.
Vieux Pontarlier is, as its name suggests, traditional absinthe born in Pontarlier, France.
It uses Pontarlier-grown wormwood for the most authentic absinthe flavor.
It’s also one of the best absinthe brands for aromatic lovers, as it incorporates spice, fennel, alpine herbs, and menthol to create a tempting whirlwind of scents and flavors.
Once ice cold water is added, you’ll get a cloudy, mysterious, green-tinted mixture.
The notes mentioned above are complemented with cacao, anise, and minty undertones, creating a genuinely layered and complex tasting experience.
Letherbee Charred Oak Absinthe Brun
Absinthe can be a bit pricey given the lack of genuine distillers for it.
However, the Letherbee Charred Oak Absinthe Brun provides a decently priced absinthe bottle for those who want to get their feet wet but not fully invest in liquor they don’t know they like yet.
This absinthe is a bit different in that it does not have the standard green hue but rather a caramel hue.
This color is due to its time in a charred, American oak cask, similar to how whiskey is distilled.
The vanilla, oak, and caramel flavors are reminiscent of whiskey as well, so this absinthe would be a good one to try if you are already a whiskey fan but want to switch things up for a night.
Tenneyson Absinthe Royale
The Tenneyson Absinthe Royale is distilled outside of Pontarlier, France, in a town called La Cluse et Mijoux.
This is a clear formula with all of the herbal, botanical, and aromatic glory one would expect from Swiss-inspired absinthe.
It has hints of fennel on the nose, as many absinthes do, but also a unique touch of juniper.
Additionally, a bitter orange taste complements the classic wormwood, anise, and sweet fennel flavors.
Doc Herson’s Green Absinthe
Doc’s Natural Spirits have a variety of products and even three different types of absinthe, but their Green Absinthe is the most classic and traditional.
You’ll get the fennel, green anise, and green wormwood that you expect from traditional tasting absinthe, as well as a fresh minty undertone for a more modern approach.
However, if you are already a fan of absinthe and want to try more innovative takes on the traditional mix, then trying out the red or poppy white absinthes won’t be a bad idea.
With the red, you’ll receive more floral and citrusy tones with notes of hibiscus. And the poppy white provides the taste of poppy seeds for a more savory and less sweet take on absinthe.
Last but not least, if you are looking to try one of the most original absinthe bottles on the market, Kübler Absinthe is an excellent option.
This is traditional absinthe that is not just Swiss by style or inspiration but by actual origin.
Kübler started in Switzerland in 1863, and it was the first Swiss brand to come into the US market after the ban was lifted in 2007.
They also make three different bottle types of absinthe, starting with the original formula that incorporates nine distinct botanicals and has 53% alcohol content.
The next is the same absinthe in a smaller bottle, at 375 ml instead of 1 liter. This bottle is optimal for people looking to try absinthe for the first time.
Finally, they have the heavy-duty Verte Suisse bottle that uses only three botanicals but has a whopping 72% ABV.
We hope this article helped you understand the best brands for the mysterious and misunderstood liquor called absinthe.
You can mix absinthe with coke, soda, or even cocktails with other liquor. But the best thing to do is to make sure you dilute the absinthe first with about one part absinthe and two or three parts water.
Absinthe was once thought of as a liquor that would make you hallucinate.
You likely won’t “trip” if you try any of the best absinthe brands on this list, but you can get drunk given the high alcohol content of about 50-70%, so be sure to drink responsibly!