While France and the rest of Europe were embracing the Green Fairy in the early 1800s, America was dabbling in new and exciting way to enjoy spirits: the cocktail!  Absinthe makes a wonderful drink on its own, but old bar books such as The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book (1933) and The Savoy Bar Book (1930) also give hundreds of recipes where absinthe was used in a whole array of classic cocktails.

Most early cocktails call for only a dash or a splash of absinthe, yet still achieve a remarkable change in fullness and smoothness. The absinthe is used more like bitters, to serve as a sort of subtle accent. Absinthe can really tie a drink together.

We've collected a few of the best classic, historical absinthe recipes from the era as well as some modern creations we hope you'll enjoy.

  

Mephisto CocktailMEPHISTO

The Marteau signature drink, this cocktail is the offspring from a torrid Montparnasse affair between a Perfect Martini* and a Smoky Martini.

The aptly-named Mephisto is subtle, mysterious, and elegant.  The absinthe is subtle, as is the Scotch whisky.  These flavors hide in the shadows just out of reach, but their mystery ties the cocktail together with whispers of fairy.

The Mephisto is a classic-style cocktail that exemplifies the blending capability of Marteau absinthe.

• 2 1⁄2 oz London Dry Gin
• 1⁄2 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1⁄2 oz Dry Vermouth
• 2 dashes orange bitters

• 1/4 oz Marteau Absinthe

• 1/4 oz G. Stone's Cane & Gum, or other simple syrup

• 1/4 oz Well-peated Scotch Whisky (Laphroaigh, Ardbeg)

Stir all in a well-iced tumbler and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist. The drink should be a clear amber color.  If it becomes cloudy, you've used too much absinthe.

 

* A "Dry Martini" calls for dry vermouth and dry gin, hence the name. A "Perfect Martini" calls for equal parts of dry and sweet vermouth.

Modern Cocktails

CINNABAR

• 1 oz Ginger Liqueur
• 2 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1⁄4 oz fresh lime juice
• 2 - 3 dashes Marteau
• 1-2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Shake and strain into an iced filled Collins glass, top with tonic.

ODALISQUE

• 2 oz Cognac
• 1 oz Ginger Liqueur
• 1 oz Mavrodaphne (Achaia-Clauss)
• 2-3 dashes Marteau
• 1 dash orange flower water

Stir and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

REUBEN

Add to iced Collins glass:

• 2 oz Bourbon
• 2 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 1⁄2 oz Marteau
• 1/4 oz grenadine
• 2 dashes orange bitters

Top with soda water.

LORD BUCKLEY

Add to iced Collins glass:

• 2 oz London Dry Gin
• 2 oz Dry Vermouth
• 1/2 oz Marteau
• 1⁄2 oz Cassis 
• 2 dashes orange bitters

 Top with tonic water.

IMPERIAL TOPAZ NO. 2

• 1 oz Light Rum
• 2 oz fresh Pineapple Juice
• 1⁄4 oz Marteau
• 2 - 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
• Dash of Orange Flower Water
• G. Stone's Cane & Gum, or other simple syrup, to taste (or not)

Shake and strain into frosted cocktail glass.

L'AMOUR en FUITE

• 1 1⁄2 oz Plymouth gin
• 3⁄4 oz Lillet
• 1⁄4 oz St .Germain Elderflower Liqueur
• Marteau rinse

Add to iced mixing glass, stir, and strain into an absinthe-rinsed cocktail glass.

by Jamie Boudreau

MARTEAU FRAPPÉ

• 1 oz Marteau
• 1 oz Cointreau
• 3 oz Cold water

Add ingredients to ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is thoroughly frosted. Strain into a small tumbler filled with crushed ice. Serve with short straw.

SALUT SOLEIL

• 1 oz Gold Rum
• 1⁄4 oz Marteau
• 1⁄4 oz Cointreau
• 1⁄4 oz Creme de Noyaux
• Cream to taste (optional)

Add to 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee. Enjoy.

The Classics

SAZERAC

The most famous absinthe cocktail in the world.

• 2 1⁄2 oz Rye Whiskey
• 1/2 tsp G. Stone's Cane & Gum, or other simple syrup
• 5 or 6 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters (no substitutions)
• A splash of Marteau

Add all but the Marteau to a mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled.

Rinse a chilled Old Fashioned (or "rocks") glass with the Marteau and empty excess, keeping just enough to coat the inside of the glass. Strain whiskey into the chilled glass; garnish with a lemon twist.

COCKTAIL á la LOUISIANE

An excellent companion to the Sazerac.

• 3⁄4 oz Rye Whiskey
• 3⁄4 oz Benedictine
• 3⁄4 oz Sweet Vermouth
• 3 dashes Marteau
• 3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

 Add to mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled. Strain into frosted cocktail glass.

Garnish with a cherry.

FOURTH DEGREE

• 1 oz Gin
• 1 oz Dry Vermouth
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
• A splash of Marteau

Add to mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled. Strain into frosted cocktail glass.

OBITUARY COCKTAIL

• 2 1⁄2 oz Gin
• 1⁄2 oz Dry Vermouth
• 1⁄4 oz Marteau

Add to mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled. Strain into frosted cocktail glass.

Garnish with lemon twist

WHITE LILY

• 1 oz Gin
• 1 oz Cointreau
• 1 oz White Rum
• 1 dash Marteau

Add to mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled. Strain into frosted cocktail glass.

CHRYSANTHEMUM

• 1 oz Benedictine
• 2 oz Dry Vermouth
• 3 dashes Marteau

Add to mixing glass with ice and stir until until well-chilled. Strain into frosted cocktail glass.

Squeeze orange peel on top.

CORPSE REVIVER No. 2

• 1⁄2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
• 1⁄2 oz Kina Lillet
• 1⁄2 oz Cointreau
• 1⁄2 oz Dry Gin
• 1 Dash Marteau

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

"Note: Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again."

[note from original Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930]

MONKEY GLAND

• 3 dashes Marteau
• 3 dashes Grenadine
• 2 oz Orange Juice
• 2 oz dry gin

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.