As more and more people seek to experience Pernod Absinthe as it was originally enjoyed during La Belle Epoque period, the tradition of The Green Hour, or L'Heure Verte as it was known, has seen a revival in recent years. The Green Hour was the name given to the popular custom in the mid 1800s of drinking absinthe at 5pm.
The growing enthusiasm and interest in traditional drinks and cocktails, the popularity of vintage cocktails bars and speakeasies, and the global reintroduction of absinthe-based drinks have combined to fuel interest in the origins and customs associated with The Green Hour.
The original absinthe ritual
From the bottle to the glass, the ritual of consuming absinthe is accompanied with an authentic gesture. Pernod Absinthe revives the traditional French service of the late 19th century with a line of utensils (fountain, glasses, spoons) created by the young and talented designer Pierre Gonalons. The traditional service can be identified from Montmartre to Williamsburg: 1 measure of absinthe to 5 measures of water.
A slotted spoon is used to dissolve a sugar cube into a glass of absinthe with iced water (filtered or bottled, never from the tap). It is poured drop by drop from a small carafe held high above the glass, or from an absinthe fountain.
This causes the absinthe to cloud, known as the louche effect. Some consider the liquid to be ‘liberated’ at this point, as the essential oils of the herbs are released, adding to the sensory enjoyment of the drink itself.
Pernod Absinthe at cocktail hour
The history of the cocktail is synonymous with the story of Absinthe. Born in the 19th century in the Old Absinthe House of New Orleans, the “Sazerac” was America’s first cocktail and featured a rinse of Pernod Absinthe around a glass containing a mix of brandy, sugar and Peychaud’s bitters. More recently, Charles Vexenat created “The Green Beast”, a refreshing drink of Pernod Absinthe, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, fresh water and cucumber slices. In this second golden age of classic cocktails, absinthe is a fundamental spirit for any bar.
This new generation of bartenders, some traditionalists, some innovators, both establish absinthe’s permanent place in history. More than ever, it remains a fundamental of any bar.
Today, mixologists from Paris to New York can once again experiment with the authentic taste of Pernod Absinthe, creating concoctions perfect for the contemporary palate, but with all the authenticity of La Belle Epoque.
Sources : Marie-Claude Delahaye. L’Absinthe, histoire de la Fée Verte », 1983 et « Pernod, Créateur de l’Absinthe », 2008.