Where to Buy
Looking to buy absinthe online? Purchase absinthe at a brick-and-mortar store? Or do you want to sample the green drink in a specialist cafe or bar? Here’s a guide to the number one locations, both online and in the “real world”.
This is not an exhaustive list; there are, of course, many other places in the world that sell or serve absinthe. However, these are places I personally buy from or visit, or those that have earned top reputation in the absinthe community, and so I am happy to recommend them.
Buying Direct from a Distillery (Online)
Back in the early nineties (when I first started drinking absinthe), this option usually involved a trip to some obscure, hard-to-find village in the mountains — if you were intent on sampling the best of the best, anyway. Absinthe was banned in most of the world and so getting hold of a bottle of the genuine stuff was no easy task.
The re-legalization of absinthe, together with the invention of the wonderful thing we call the internet, has allowed previously “clandestine” distillers to offer their produce openly and directly to interested buyers around the world. These unique distilleries typically specialize in just one or two signature products, perfected over generations and only available direct or from a handful of local stores.
There are two artisanal producers I currently recommend that take orders online:
Distillers of rare, limited production absinthe. Made with potent, mountain-picked wormwood, Century contains a mighty 100mg+ of thujone — and it tastes (and feels!) great, too. Considered the current crème de la crème of absinthe by most connoisseurs. Not available through any resellers as supplies are limited to ensure quality. It is expensive, too (but well worth it). Online orders taken at centuryabsinthe.com.
An unusual but very, very good absinthe, made according to a recipe from the 1920s jazz era. This translates to a strong, high quality product, primarily based on wormwood and less reliant on anise. Fresh crisp taste and a delightful clear-headed effect. Read my review, then order online at absinthe.in.
Online Absinthe Retailers
The issue I have with most online retailers is that they will stock anything and everything as long as the (wholesale) price is right. Quite often, this will include absinthes of very poor quality, or even products that just don’t deserve the name “absinthe”. One such retailer advertises dozens of brands, yet closer inspection reveals this includes such “gems” as Herbsaint (a thujone-free absinthe imitation), Red Devil (practically undrinkable) or Denoix (a shameful, chemical absinthe imitation, more so because it’s made by a French distiller who should know better).
This is a problem for newcomers who often buy a cheaper product (”just to try”), then resolutely refuse to ever drink absinthe again — unaware that real absinthe tastes good and delivers an experience no other drink ever has or ever will.
Having said all the above, very good absinthes can also be had from online resellers. One such operation that deserves a mention here is:
The original online absinthe store, from the makers of the La Fee range. It is thanks to these guys that absinthe was rediscovered in Europe in the 1990s. I am not a fan of all the absinthes they stock, but it is worth trying their award-winning La Fee range (Francaise, Suisse and Bohemian). Available online at eabsinthe.com.
Brick and Mortar Absinthe Stores
11 rue d’Ormesson
Tél: 01 42 71 69 73
Open daily, from 11am to 8pm (closed Monday)
Gallery Gruner Engel
Untere Str. 14
Tel: 0 6221 - 4339230
Cava de los Faros
Plaza Universidad, nº 5.
Ferdinand Bolstraat 112
1072 LP Amsterdam
Tel: 020 - 679 33 04
Smetanovo nábřeží 1012/2,
110 00 Praha 1
Tel: 224 218 493.
The one and only Cafe Slavia! Home to Viktor Oliva’s famous artwork, The Absinthe Drinker. It was here that Hilllary Clinton tried Hill’s Absinth with President Vaclav Havel.
Moriwaki Bld. 1F,
Oster Farimagsgade 12,
Tel.: 35 26 86 38
San Pau 47
Tel: 93 442 72 63
Where Ernest Hemmingway, Dali, Picasso drank absinthe! Since 1820.
Impasse de la Fidélité 12
250+ types of absinthe!
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 171
Tel: +20 6234413
The Absinth Bar
Ienachita Vacarescu Nr. 33
Tel: 0724.659.729 | 021.335.45.30
Kremencova 5, Prague
Tel +222 516 300
Good selection of absinthe with absinthe fountains at the table. Live music.
The Old Absinthe Hosue
240 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Serves FDA approved thujone free absinthe using Bohemian fire ritual!
401 Brunswick Street.
Tel: 03 9419 6539
208 W. Fourth Street Austin Texas 78701
Sarah B. Absinthe Bar
360 St-Antoine St. West,
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Tel.: 514 847-8532