Absinthe Gommée: The forgotten Absinthe Ritual

Absinthe Gommée

We have talked about different ways how to prepare Absinthe already. However, there is one more ritual that we have not yet talked about, but it is a big part of history as well: An Absinthe Gommée. Maybe some of you, already know what it is, but it seems, that this way of drinking Absinthe has been forgotten over the years!

Absinthe Gommée: What it is

Essentially an “Absinthe Gommée” is a different way of preparing Absinthe with sugar. It is a very old ritual, maybe one of the first Absinthe rituals ever. Historical potscards and books from the 19th century mention it. The ritual has some specialities, that differentiates it from the French Absinthe ritual, where you use a perforated Absinthe spoon and a sugar cube. So what is an Absinthe Gommée exactly?

First of all, an Absinthe Gommée does not use sugar cubes, but rather a sugar syrup. In French, that syrup is called Sirop a la gomme. Therefore, if you wanted to drink your Absinthe with sugar syrup you ordered an “Absinthe Gommée” instead of a regular “Absinthe au sucre”.

Sirop de Gomme and vintage label
Contemporary Sirop de Gomme and a vintage label of a historical syrup

Secondly, one does not use the Absinthe spoon that we all know, but a regular spoon with a longer tail. It is assumed, that this is due to the fact that in the beginnings of the Absinthe culture, nobody really had an idea of how to prepare Absinthe the best way. Therefore, people added water and took sugar syrup to make it sweeter. Sugar syrup was present in every bar, therefore sweetening Absinthe with syrup was just the easiest way. The spoon was finally used to stir it, so it would mix up.

The Absinthe Spoon Heart is a reproduction of spoons that were used for the ritual.  Nevertheless, this spoon is already quite decorated, simpler spoons were more common in bistros and cafés. For example the Losange design, also known as the Classic Absinthe Spoon. In the following photograph you can see two Absintheurs enjoying an Absinthe Gommée with a simple spoon.

An Absinthe Gommée
Two Absintheurs drinking an Absinthe Gommée with a regular spoon

Absinthe Gommée: How it tastes

Sirop de Gomme is a sugar and water mixture, but has an added ingredient of gum arabic, the hardened sap of the acacia tree, which acts as an emulsifier. Gum syrup is made with the highest percentage of sugar to water possible, therefore it is very sweet. The gum arabic prevents the sugar from crystallizing and adds a smooth texture. As the syrup is liquid, it blends well with Absinthe and water. This means, that your glass of Absinthe tastes sweeter, in comparison to preparing it with regular sugar cubes, which often do not perfectly dissolve.

Have you already had an Absinthe Gommée? If so, how do you like it? If not, make sure to give it a try!

Green greetings,

Nico from the ALANDIA-Team

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