Homemade Absinthe Recipe, No Still Required.

Some friends and I just finished a batch of Absinthe.  It came out pretty good, and it definitely has enough Wormwood or enough of something to give a nice effect, beyond the basic alcohol buzz.  I guess it’s similar to doing a tiny bit of cocaine.  It’s a slight stimulant feeling along with a relaxed, un-anxiousness.  It’s pleasant for sitting around and chatting with a few friends.  

The taste OK.  Wormwood is very bitter and this stuff tastes a lot better when you add a little piece of lemon peel.  To serve, you add 1 shot of this stuff to 5 shots of ice-cold water.  The next batch we make will have a few revisions, mainly the introduction of Citron, Increased amount of Anise and or Fennel and the removal of White Sage altogether.  The White Sage is too strong and its presence is offensive to my two friends more than it is to me.  I’m fine with letting it go.

Here’s the recipe as we made it, and the instructions after.  

  • 750 ml bottle of EverClear 151 Proof
  • 1 oz Grande Wormwood
  • 1 Tablespoon Anise Seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Balm
  • 1 Teaspoon White Sage :(
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nettle Leaf
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Corriander Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Caroway Seeds
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Licorice Root
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Calamus
  • 5 Cardamon Pods
  • 2 Large Fresh Spear Mint Leaves
  • 1 Large Fresh Basil Leaf
  • 2 Large Stars, Star Anise


  1. Put one Ounce of Wormwood in a bottle of 151 Proof Everclear.  Store in a dark place for one week (7 full days).  Shake the bottle at least once every day.  By the 7th day, practically all the Wormwood should have stopped floating.  The liquid will be very dark green.
  2. Strain the Wormwood out of the liquid with a coffee filter and throw it away (or use it to start a fire in your fireplace).  At this point you might want to taste the non-flavored, Wormwood-only liquor.  This will help you to get a sense of what the Wormwood does to the flavor.  It’s bitter.  You’ve been warned.  To taste mix 1:5 with water.
  3. Add all the herbs to the liquid.  We ground them with a coffee grinder, but I think the 151 alcohol is strong enough to penetrate the various seeds and leaves to extract the flavorings, even without grinding.
  4. Return the bottle to a dark place for 2 more whole days, shaking whenever you remember to.
  5. Strain out the herbs.
  6. Enjoy.

To serve, pour 5 parts ice-cold water over a sugar cube on a slotted spoon into 1 part Absinthe.  The drink will be about as strong as wine, alcohol-wise.  After you try it, notice how much better it tastes with a piece of lemon peel added.  1-2 Glasses definitely does something special.  All and all, this recipe is a success.  We will tinker with it and then eventually consider moving on to a filtering and or distilling process to improve the product.

Proposed Revisions

  • Remove White Sage
  • Increase Anise (or Fennel or Licorice Root or some combination of all)
  • Add Citron (or possibly Lemon Peel at flavoring stage)

14 Replies to “Homemade Absinthe Recipe, No Still Required.”

  1. Great recipe, in mine i am using less wormwood and more anise, to counterbalance out the bitterness. Good luck on you future ventures into liquor making.

  2. About as strong as wine????
    I’m a big absinthe drinker and I buy it when I’m in Eastern Europe (mainly Czech), it’s supposed to be at least 50% alc and I tend to buy the 80-90% strength.
    I want to try this recipe but I’m going to mix a 1:1 not 5:1 mix as I like it strong, have you tried it that way?

  3. I had been buying the so-called Modern
    Absinthe brand and wondered if it really even has
    Wormwood on it. We changed to Lucid Absinthe
    and it’s good but when try to make the Green Fairy it always turns
    out more opaque white. This recipe turns out
    green when do the fairy thing and my wife says
    she likes the taste better. I think I do too. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Scott,
    Technically, this recipe would probably be considered a tincture.

    Anyway, me and some friends built a small still and experimented with distilling this recipe, and we found that once you distill the stuff, it turns clear, but it still goes from clear to opaque when you poor it through ice. The reason it does this is because the few essential oils that do make through the distilling process.

    I think I recall from the reading I did that the “active ingredients” in wormwood have much higher boiling points that alcohol or water so if you distill the stuff, making it clear, you are essentially left with an anise-flavored alcohol, but it would contain any of the “active ingredients” from the wormwood.

    I think the solution is to distill, then add small amounts of the original green bitter tincture back in to give it color and so you can still rest assured that there’s wormwood in it.

    The thing is, I drank a ton of the undistilled stuff and it does seem to have a slight effect, but it’s really subtle. More like a tiny bit of cocaine. It certainly isn’t a hallucinogen. And it’s bitter as hell, as you well know if you made this recipe.

    Once you distill it, it tastes great. It’s like licorice vodka, but it has no color to it.

    And I also recall reading that absinthe was really only banned because the wine industry didn’t want the competition. So all the stuff about hallucinations and madness was sort of made up as part of an anti-absinthe propaganda campaign.

  5. Very good! I used Gem Clear 190 and put a Carribean twist to my batch! I added Mauby Bark (very bitter as Wormwood), Valerian Root (relaxing), Marjoram (sweet/citrus like flavor) and Lemongrass! Very good, very strong!

  6. So I been doing research into making absinthe, I make holistic medicine as it is so its not far out of my realm..but I have been trying to figure out a good wormwood to spirit ratio…and also your recipe intrigued me because you did the wormwood maceration seperately and thenn added the other herbs..I’ve seen some that were wormwod for 2 days ,strain,then herbs for a week..yours is opposite…I’m sure it all works but I’m wondering which route to go first..or just macerate all together…I will be getting a distillation apparatus son but in meantime id like to see what happens

  7. bruno.
    my suggestion would be to do two side-by-side batches and see which you prefer. The stuff is BITTER. You’ve been warned.

  8. Hey absinthe folks: the bitterness is natural though I’m sure it varies a bit recipe to recipe. That’s why they used (and now use again) absinthe spoons with sugar cubes. Pour the water over the sugar cube, dissolves the sugar into the drink and voila… no more bitter!

  9. A.S.,
    I love your enthusiasm!

    What I found is that if you do not distill, which I did some experiments with, it’s going to be be bitter as hell.

    Drinking the bitter stuff seems to have an interesting effect though. Almost like a mild stimulant.

    Once distilled (and probably completely cleansed of thujone and other oils that have a higher evaporating temp), it tastes lovely like licorice, and is clear.

    Next time, if there is a next time, I’m going to distill, and then, add a small amount of the original tincture back into the distilled stuff, for color and to add a small amount of bitterness and potential effect.

  10. Andrew this recipe kicks ass. Me and my roommates have been having a drink of this before goin on or chillin by the fire…We added ginger to ours. Can you stretch the batch by diluting it with water? this would help the bitterness too, maybe not as strong effects but I do agree you could definitely feel the effects of this. Like you said, stimulant, but there were minor hallunigenic effects too (Id see fractals in the tree branches at night, etc)
    Highly recommend. I think the callamus is the secret ingredient that puts it over the top. I had to go to a witchcraft store for the calamus which ruled.

  11. Could you add some photos of the final product? Does it looks like a water from the lake or is it clear green as absinthe from the store?

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