Death in the Afternoon cocktail Recipe


Camper English, a San Francisco–based writer, developed this adaptation of a classic drink recipe to showcase the use of absinthe, but Ernest Hemingway gets credit for the recipe. His advice, circa 1935: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.” We recommend drinking fewer than five. You may also try pouring the absinthe on top instead—some brands of absinthe will float for a time on the Champagne, and this makes for a nifty visual effect.

Serving: 1

  • 1/4 – 1/2 ounce absinthe
  • sparkling wine (dry)
  • 1 dash simple syrup, optional (1:1, sugar:water)
  1. Add absinthe and and simple syrup (if using) to a flute.
  2. Slowly top with chilled, sparkling wine.

A good, dry sparkling wine or Champagne works well here. Because absinthe has a very particular flavor profile, some may prefer more or less. Though the original recipe calls for a prodigious one-and-a-half ounces of absinthe, we prefer to remain standing after one cocktail. Contemporary versions, including ours, call for a lighter pour.

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