Crook – Recipe from ‘Old Waldorf Bar Days’

Dash of Orange Bitters 

One-third Absinthe 

Two-thirds Italian Vermuth 


I’m a big fan of absinthe which is what caught my attention for this drink, and when I made it I was fairly heavy handed, making it 30ml’s or 1 ounce for the absinthe and adjusting the vermouth in relation to it. The wormwood in absinthe, where it gets its bitterness from is one of the most bitter compounds known to man from a flavour perspective, so I’m always a little wary of drinks with a lot of absinthe in as I worry how this would be balanced, a lot of the time people put in something very sweet to do this, now days I’d actually put a dash of salt which works amazingly at toning down ‘bitter’.

This drink, apart from having the aesthetic charm of dishwater worked amazingly well, the red vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula as per usual) balanced it very well, and to be honest I probably drank it a little quick, as I then suffered for the next hour from that weird and wonderful drunkenness you get from drinking high ABV spirits quicker than is wise.

There’s a lot of talk about absinthe causing hallucinations, all of which is false. Most of the famous cases involve excessive drinking or syphilis (Toulouse Lautrec). I was always under the impression that absinthe had Thujone in it, and this was the same drug found in THC in marijuana. Having a closer look this is an urban myth, it was something conjectured in a study in 1975 which was disproved 3 years later but somehow we all remember the earlier hypothesis, a lot like artificial sweeteners.

Overall this was a great drink, and something I will definitely go back to, it will be a ‘go to’ drink for me for people wanting a drink with absinthe in.