Discover Why the Watermelon Absinthe Sorbet Is This Summer’s Coolest Treat 

August 16, 2023

During the sweltering summer months, nothing beats indulging in a frosty treat for relief. If you’ve ever attempted to whip up your own ice cream, sorbet, or gelato, you’re well aware of the hard work involved – not to mention the potential for investing in a pricey ice cream maker – to replicate that professional quality taste and texture. 

That’s where sorbet often steps into the spotlight as a simpler alternative within the world of frozen desserts. But crafting a top-notch sorbet involves more than just tossing ingredients together and freezing them. The secret to an outstanding sorbet? A splash of alcohol. High-proof spirits like absinthe alcohol, commonly known as “the Green Fairy,” can replace traditional stabilizers like pectin or gelatin and deliver exceptional results in both sorbet and ice cream creations. 

Discover the Enigmatic World of Absinthe 

Absinthe, a highly intriguing and distinctive spirit, has gained a reputation for being both enigmatic and alluring. What sets absinthe apart from other alcoholic beverages is its key ingredient – wormwood. This bitter herb gives absinthe its unique flavor profile and has captivated the palates of connoisseurs around the world. 

While absinthe is often enjoyed as a traditional drink, its versatility extends far beyond the glass. Incorporating absinthe into cooking, desserts, and cocktails can elevate your culinary creations to new heights. 

In cooking, absinthe adds depth and complexity to savory dishes. Its bitter notes provide a tantalizing contrast to rich flavors, making it an ideal ingredient for sauces or marinades. When used in desserts such as sorbet or ice cream, absinthe imparts a refreshing and unexpected twist that delights the taste buds. 

When it comes to cocktails, the addition of absinthe can transform an ordinary drink into an extraordinary experience. The distinct herbal flavors of this spirit lend themselves well to classic concoctions like the Sazerac or Corpse Reviver No. 2. Moreover, the traditional ritual of preparing an absinthe cocktail with sugar cubes and water creates an immersive experience that adds to its allure. 

Beyond its remarkable taste profile, some claim that consuming absinthe in moderation may offer health benefits due to certain natural compounds found in wormwood. While further research is needed to fully understand these potential advantages, it’s clear that incorporating this intriguing spirit into your culinary endeavors can bring a touch of sophistication and excitement. 

Absinthe’s unique taste profile makes it an excellent choice for those seeking bold flavors in their cooking, desserts, and cocktails. Whether you are looking to experiment with new recipes or simply want to indulge in a sensory adventure, using absinthe as an ingredient will undoubtedly take your culinary creations to new heights of flavor exploration. 

Deliciously Indulgent Sorbets and Ice Creams with a Hint of Alcohol 

As martini enthusiasts may have noticed, strong spirits won’t freeze solid due to their elevated alcohol content. When used in sorbet preparation, 45-74 percent alcoholic absinthe effectively lowers the freezing point, yielding a creamier texture and consistency. While any hard liquor can contribute to a softer dessert base, European chefs praise absinthe for its unique flavor profile; herbal, floral nuances with hints of lemon balm and mint make for an unrivaled frozen delight. 

A brilliant example of absinthe-infused dessert can be found at La Table du Palafitte in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Chef Maxime Pot’s bright green, licorice-scented absinthe ice cream boasts a harmonious balance of creaminess and refreshing clarity reminiscent of sipping on the notorious spirit minus its powerful kick. For those looking to source exceptional absinthes for their desserts—or simply to enjoy straight—visiting distilleries such as Artemisia, La Valote Martin, and La P’tite Gaudentia Persoz is highly recommended. Alternatively, you can always opt for a tried-and-true classic like Pernod, a globally renowned absinthe producer. 

Embrace the summer vibes even more by incorporating fruit into your absinthe-infused sorbet – or with any alcoholic beverage, for that matter. Pastry Chef Marie Wucher from Le Parc Hotel in Obernai, France, creates a sorbet consisting of 90% ripe fruit, a hint of sugar, and eaux-de-vie, a clear brandy hailing from the Alsace region of France. Marie explains, “I incorporate eaux-de-vie similarly to how I’d use a cherry-flavored liqueur in many of my recipes. My grandmother used kirsch in every dessert she made – from fruit salads to mousses and crème pâtissière. This taste is ingrained in my DNA, and because alcohol doesn’t freeze, I add a touch of eau de vie to enhance my sorbet’s texture and flavor.” 

Indulge in Absinthe-infused Frozen Treat 

We present to you below a refreshing spin on Chef Maxime’s absinthe ice cream recipe, which incorporates juicy watermelon – the quintessential summer fruit. When attempting this delightful concoction, always remember: moderation is key. As tempting as it may be to pour extra absinthe for a more pronounced flavor, exceeding four tablespoons could result in mushy sorbet that won’t set correctly. So cheers to you, and happy scooping! 

Whip Up a Swift Absinthe Sorbet 


1 cup caster sugar 

½ cup water 

1 kilogram watermelon, cut into chunks and frozen 

Juice and zest of one lemon 

3 to 4 tablespoons absinthe 


Arrange the cubed watermelon in the metal tray you’ll be using for freezing your sorbet. Freeze it for around 30 minutes to an hour. 

Concurrently, combine the sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring it to boil before reducing to a simmer for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool slightly. 

In a food processor, blend the frozen watermelon until smooth.  

Incorporate the lemon juice, slightly cooled sugar syrup, and absinthe into the mix. Blend quickly once more. Depending on your watermelon’s frozen state, you can serve it immediately or return the sorbet to the freezer tray until it reaches a semi-firm, ice cream-like consistency before serving. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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