Absinthe Ice Cream Recipe

absinthe ice cream

After giving it considerable thought, I’ve decided to take the advice that I shouldn’t be talking about anything but food, so you won’t find me spouting off anymore about appliance handles, Sarah Palin (although I will get one last word in; that family is a tad wacky, don’t you think?), Man Purses, anything about Paris, miscellaneous problems, les jeunes hommes fawning all over my mid-section, and men’s room finds.

(Although technically, that last one might eke in and qualify, although maybe not, since I didn’t include a recipe.)

Speaking of which, I’m also going to follow other advice to “…get to the recipe already” which precludes me writing a story about this particular dessert. So I won’t be able to tell you how I came about making this particular batch of Absinthe Ice Cream.


There will be no mention of eating it on a boat floating in the Seine, under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. Nor can I divulge any of the antics that guests on my chocolate tour did this week after eating this. (Which is just as good, because I wouldn’t want to embarrass anyone other than me.)

adding the green stuff chocolate chips 4 blog

And I can’t tell you about how you can use Pernod, or another anise-based liqueur, in place of the absinthe. Or how I made these lickable chocolate pavés, silky nubbins of chocolate, which I embedded in a soft green, hallucinatingly-herbaceous frozen custard, because my hands are tied.

Luckily, though, my tongue wasn’t.

absinthe ice cream

Absinthe Ice Cream

About 1 quart (1l)

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup (130g) sugar
  • 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3-4 tablespoons absinthe
  • about 1 1/2 cups chopped chocolate truffles, or chocolate chips

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.

2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream or half-and-half into the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the cream or half-and-half. Stir over the ice until cool, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Stir in 3 tablespoons of absinthe. Taste, and add another one if desired.

7. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, stir in the chopped chocolate bits.

perfectscoop.jpg

Related Links:

Vert d’Absinthe

Ice Cream Making FAQs

Absinthe Frappé (Imbibe Magazine)

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream (Recipe)

The Wormwood Society (Absinthe FAQs)

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (Recipe)

Making ice cream without a machine

Meet your maker: buying an ice cream machine

Espresso Granita Affogato (Recipe)

170 comments

  • Who on earth has been giving you such HORRIBLE advice?!! This person must be stopped.

  • A pox on whoever is tying your proverbial hands! I love the stories behind your creations and getting the glimpse into your mind. Just because some may not agree about man purses or the Palin’s doesn’t mean the rest of us should suffer. Your recipes come about from your experiences, and without said experiences something is just missing… don’t do it, David!

    That being said, I love the look of this recipe. I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a bottle of Absinthe and this is perfect. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Very nice blog. I am wondering if it could be possible to make the absinthe taste stronger, og if the (unusual amounts of) ethanol would destroy the ice cream texture?

    Alternatively I would use star anise or similar to infuse the extra taste in. Heck .. perhaps even infuse wormwood. ;)

  • Bah humbug! Write want you want to write! Isn’t this blog all about your own quest for some sort of therapy which can’t be found in Paris? Keep up your cathartic tales. We love them and can get plain recipes anywhere.

  • Lars: Of the 12 folks who tasted it, I don’t think anything came away thinking it was not strong enough!

    (I used 4 tablespoons, but dialed it back here for those who might not like it so forceful.)

    I would not add any more absinthe since the alcohol can prevent it from freezing enough, but you could infuse the custard with spices, such as anise seed or wormwood, which I see at Arab markets in Paris. Or simple drizzle a bit of vivid green absinthe over each serving.

  • well I enjoyed all the pink stories and even the nuthugger stories, but I also love your ice cream stories too. :-)

  • Beautiful green color-Amazing Simply Amazing-my green moods are numerous. What an exciting color infused just excites all senses and now to make it.
    Last time with Absinthe was in New Orleans many many years ago. Very interesting thought with chocolate….Dark and Moody.

    Very nice David…Many Many compliments to you!!!

  • I agree with those who think the best bits of your blog are the non-food bits! Come on David – you’d lose a lot more readers than you gained if you stuck strictly to recipes.

    Anyway, write the blog _you_ want to write, and ignore anybody else. That includes me!

  • I like the personal details the most. I probably wouldn’t have bookmark this page if you ‘got to the recipe already’. Ignore whoever said it.

  • Stupid advice!! I love the Paris musings, and often forward them to my California friend living in Paris– who can generally always commiserate with your troubles!

  • hmm, lets see. the person who gave you this advice could be

    [ ] jalous
    [ ] blind and deaf about this past two years of your blog posts
    [ ] genetically unable to smile (deserves no pity for that since he told you this advice
    [ ] a jerk
    [ ] better hiding before visitors here get their hand on his collar :D
    [x] all of the above

  • hmmm. “chocolate cake” + “men’s room” in the same sentence–i’m gonna pass on this one.

  • I agree with the pox on the giver or givers of such lousy advice. Don’t make us beg for the charming, funny, varied, interesting, lovely former blogging style!!!
    Oh ok, fine: puh-leeze!!!

  • no please don’t stop the stories they’re a delight to read, david! by the way the ice cream looks so gorgeous i’m salivating already :)

  • Don’t skip the stories :( It’ll make the blog generic and boring :( We like to know about you, your life and most of all we love the way you write it :) I hope im speaking for the public here…

  • “Soft green, hallucinatingly-herbaceous….”what a description David, that is enough to tempt you right there! Isn’t there a tale that Oscar Wilde had a taste for Absinthe? Bet he is rolling in his grave, he missed out on this recipe!

  • The use of Absinthe in ice cream sounds dreamy…I think I’ll make a tub and sit in that hotel where Oscar Wilde died and stare at the four walls!

    Keep the stories, cancel THAT reader.

  • I like the long, in-depth posts. Everything you write is fascinating. If people only want the recipes, they can just read ahead. Don’t listen to them!

  • I’m truly hoping you are joking about not including the story behind your recipes and your life in Paris…that would be very sad. There are enough “get to the recipe” blogs out there…keep yours uniquely special!!! And as mentioned earlier, worth bookmarking!

  • awww, thats no fun! We like those stories, food-related AND otherwise.

  • I can clearly see this is a ruse to get to me talk about the stories of absinthe ice cream-tinged skinny dipping plunges into the Seine (ick! Talk about dirty…)

    I was actually excited at the prospect of getting rid of everything but the recipes, and writing, which would certainly cut down on typos (which would certainly make a whole ‘nother group happy..) but your kinds words have given me the strength, courage, and the hope, to carry on.

  • How can you keep writing about food and NOT talk about Paris? Doesn’t sound possible.

  • your stories are one of the reasons i check my google reader every 2 hours! please don’t stop, you are a very delightful read.

    however, even with your poetic hands tied, you still make a very interesting blog.

    cheers to you!

  • Yes, I agree, no more entertaining stories. You are, without argument, ridiculously amusing, and I have much better things to do than fantasize about Paris, like, say, vacuuming out my heater vents and defrosting my freezer. I never want to hear about Paris AGAIN!

  • Your blog should be what you want! Personally I enjoy it all! And, believe it or not, all families are wacky! Like beauty, wackiness is in the eye by the beholder.

  • daveed> isn’t this the “my new book is just on the shelves and i’m exhausted” effect ?

    you know, when some writer says “gosh, I won’t never be caught writing again, this time I mean it !”

  • your hyperlink to continue just baffles me… you light up my life? OMG…

  • Please do not stop with the detailed anecdotes and tangential data!

  • Food writing without a story is B-O-R-I-N-G. Debby Boone’s powder blue formal caftan is not.

  • I love the stories!

    I’d like to try this with Pastis…

  • Food comes alive with stories. Recipes handed down from generation to generation are usually not about the food itself, but the stories and lives lived through them. I think that is what truly atracts us to your blog and makes us feel a connection with you. Recipes we can get anywhere….your stories, told with humor and warmth, are what we most cherish. PLEASE don’t cut the heart out of your blog!!!

  • I am sure that the ‘just the recipes’ thing was tounge-in-cheek and you will chide us all in your next post for not getting the joke… but just in case, let me add my voice to the ‘please keep telling stories’ roar.

  • I’ve been a long time reader of your blog but have never commented. However, the first sentence of your post has forced me to come out of lurking. The non-food bits of writing are my favourite part! Please don’t give it up!

  • Add me to the list of people who want you to continue with the stories. You bring Paris alive for the people who have never been there.

  • Is there some version of April Fools Day in France that I don’t know about?
    Who the heck gave you such dreadful advice??? This is a joke, right?

    In case it is not…
    Oh, David… There are many great recipe only sites out there, and I go to them from time to time simply to search for recipes – only. And, only those recipes I am interested in at the moment. I do not go to those sites for my daily infusion of mirthful fabulousness.

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com is my favorite place on the web.
    Didn’t your wise old grandfather tell you that if something’s not broken, don’t fix it?

    Next thing you know, I am going to act all tame, and fear offending people all over the place with my crazy comments. Wait, I probably should do that. People might like me more. But, who will like me more? And, Gods how boring!!!

    Please tell me you were just suffering from comment withdrawal and lack of validation from not posting for several days, and this was all just a ruse to get us to tell you how much we LOVE you style…

    Baby, I love your style. YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE!!! Don’t change a thing!!

    XOXOXOX,

    ~ Paula

  • I’m trying to decide what this “I’m not writing about anything other than food” fit is really about. It’s been going on for days now. Was this the result of some idiot book critic who said you don’t know what you’re talking about? Was it someone in your personal life who is an unrepentant asshole? Was it some kind of personal frustration that your book didn’t make #1 on the NYT bestseller list in it’s first week? I don’t think that’s it, because you said yourself that someone TOLD you to stick to recipes.

    Well, I suppose if you want to let other people run your life for you, you’ll do exactly as they say, despite the fact that you know, and we know, that they are dead wrong. Some people can’t stand the fact that someone out there actually has a great life and lives in a great place, and brings joy to others. And the person who thinks it’s their job to make you feel like all that is wrong wrong wrong should be evicted from your circle of trusted people you actually listen to.

    Ok, my rant is over… carry on.

  • Love your stories AND recipes! I’m excited to see where you go with this. I share the sentiments of many other posters…and I trust you know what’s best for you!

  • i’m assuming (and hoping) that you were writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek and not w. any serious intent of changing the subject matter of future posts. just the other day i recommended your blog to someone precisely for your stories of paris – and the witty hilarity with which they are written – in addition to the food stuff. what a schmuck i would look like if he visited and found a site with…only recipes. egad.

  • I love the stories! :-D

    This ice cream looks awesome! Love the color.

  • Whomever has been spouting that advice needs to take a big step away from the crack pipe. Just saying. ;-)

    I want more stories AND all your lovely recipes. What can I say? I’m kind of a diva like that. So, keep on bringing it.

    And this ice cream looks simply lovely. I’m getting ready to go thumb through my Perfect Scoop books (yes, I have two–one hardcover and one soft–one to read and one to mess up while making the recipes–isn’t everyone like that???) for a couple of ice creams to serve after dinner tonight. My guests don’t so much give a shit what I serve them for dinner, they’re all in it for the ice cream thanks to you. Smooch!

  • Fair enough. But will you tell us what whisk you’re using???

  • I love your way.

  • How about stopping in Amsterdam to make some little green cookies to go with the hallucinatory ice cream?
    Vicarious hallucinogens are better than none.

  • Tell us your tales AND tangents! Recipes too, if you want:) Thanks!

  • Well, since you’re into taking advice, ignor that advice that other person gave you.
    Carry on. (and oh, how you do carry on!) I love it

  • This is one of the most entertaining blogs I have found in years. Please keep the story in the mix–it is why your posts work. As others have noted, one can find keenly tested and scrubbed recipes anywhere. (Especially corporately sponsored Anywhere.)

    But when I log on to your site, the morning after Election Day, and see that precious photo of the champagne outside the door–and make my closest friends @ work smile within minutes–David, that’s the gift. :)

  • Please don’t take that advice. I think it’s rubbish.

    I love reading your recipes as much as I love hearing about the life you live in Paris because it’s that experience that makes those recipes happen. The only way to cope with crazy administrative procedures at the bank, or the telephone company, is to have treats like absinthe ice cream.

    To anyone who wants just recipes and only recipes: buy a cookbook.

    All the best,
    Sarah

  • What! No more personal musings? No more Paris? No more midsection and men’s rooms? If that’s the case then I’m never coming back! Please, please, please, don’t leave us hanging, and while you’re at it, block whoever gave you such terrible feedback from ever commenting again. If you promise to change your mind, I’ll give you another chance. In the meantime I’m going to go read your book.

  • What the heck? I love your non-baking related tangents. It’s what makes your awesome blog, well, awesome! That’s your leg up on other bloggers out there, you know! I reference you in my own blog from time to time because you are fun and knowledgeable! Furthermore, your recipes are great and highly detailed and I love it!

    As for this particular post, I had to run to the “leave a comment” section and brag to you about how enamored I am with absinthe. That doesn’t make me an alcoholic does it? As soon as I returned from France and Switzerland last year, I rushed to buy a bottle of Swiss Kubler, a water fountain, reservoir glass, and proper absinthe spoons. It’s the coolest way to catch a buzz, no? I think I can spare a few tablespoons to make some absinthe ice cream. How cool is that?! Thanks David!

    -Heather

  • keep up the interesting posts and don’t listen to those party poopers. the posts are tres interesting and its always fun to make fun of the french :)

  • No more anecdotes and stories? Nooooooooooooo!

    Do the French celebrate some version of April Fool’s day on May 16th? I sure hope so.

  • Hi David,

    Gorgeous recipe! Please don’t stop the stories and the non-food related posts – we love them too!

    xox Sarah

  • Yes, I agree, the Palin family is MORE than just a bit wacky.

    Love the stories and the wonderful recipes.

    Bernadette (currently living in Eagle River, AK)

  • sounds like non-sense advice; that’s what makes your blog so much fun.

  • I think by now you’ve gotten the idea – your ramblings are what makes you so adorable. As for families being a tad wacky – whose isn’t?

  • Omit the recipes and leave the stories. That will drive away the Palin family member who gave you that smashingly intelligent advice.

  • P.S. I’m a proofreader, so I notice all the typos. AND I DON’T CARE!

  • It’s your blog, write about what you want to because we all love to read it, no matter what it is–the anecdotes and Paris tidbits are all part of that. Keep going!

    Now where is the Seine skinny-dipping story, eh???

  • I think that without a doubt, this means plainfully how any visitor of your blog sees this stupid advice :D.

  • David, your blog is one of the best out there. Please keep doing it just as you have been doing. Please don’t change. You are witty, perceptive intelligent, fearless and your blog is so much more than just a food blog

  • You’re one of the best if not the best food blogger(s). Do not ever change your style. Your recipes and the stories that go with them are perfect as they are.

  • I agree with everyone. I sincerely hope that you will not go to recipes only! Because while I like your recipes and pictures, I have to admit, I tend to check this blog every day for the laughs. It’s like reading the comics in the paper….only not reading the comics but a blog instead.

    David, I really don’t want to have to find another way to laugh out loud while drinking my tea. I like to think you are responsible for the tea coloured stains on my couch, not me. And if you stop writing your random-every-day-life stories then I might have to admit the mess if not entirely your fault.

  • Noooooo! Don’t change anything! We love your stories!!!

  • Noooo — please don’t stop writing about Paris. We go once a year and I depend on you to tell me the news, the places we shouldn’t miss. And in between, I love the recipes and your stories… they’re true and they’re beautiful. Keep on, please?

  • No, no, don’t listen to that prissy, Miss Manners. I want to hear about your camoflage thong and kinky exploits, Sara Palin too! Your thong is as tacky as a Speedo on a 45yr male.

  • hehe, you sure know how to get people worked up David. Despite the fact that I don’t know you at all, I think that I know you well enough to not trust a thing you say in this post. Except for the recipe part, of course. :)

  • Bring back the funk! The stories, that is.

  • But I love your posts about miscellaneous things D=.

    And OMG that ice cream looks so good @_@!

  • I still appreciate your stories and musings: foodwise or not. After all isn’t that what blogs about?

  • Whoever gave you that advice is somewhere out in left field-your life and your musings on it are what illuminate the recipes. We can find millions of recipes anywhere and everywhere but your travails and whimsies are what keep me reading.

  • Recipes can be found in a million places. Stories are unique. That’s why I love food blogs.

  • Bonjour David!

    Whoever gave you this piece of “advise” must have been not only drinking barrels of absinthe but inhaling it too for a very long period of time – we have heard what it will do to the mind…. You should absolutely avoid this kind of people as they are vexations to the spirit…. :(

    Your stories are witty, funny, I love the selbst-ironie!! Besides they make up for the sometimes impossible recipes you present us poor readers with :):)…
    So much that I made the tarte (a la Paule) again yesterday – with a different filling that is, it is so easy and fast – great!!

    And last but not least – WTF?? It is YOUR blog isn’t it? So tell them to go smoke a gauloise and shove it – or something like that……

  • Ok, I NEVER post comments on blogs, but I must in this case. I love the tidbits and stories food related and otherwise on this blog. Please don’t stop….

  • Oh, but I love the tangents! Life in Paris makes tangents obligatory. Ignore those silly boring people.

  • Ignore them. Write what you want. As you please, however that is.

  • Write as you like! You had me with the rabbit of Seville and I’ve been reading ever since. Actually you had me when I made your ginger cake some years ago but now you’re a living, breathing multi-gifted man with a heart. Write on!

  • I love the longer posts with stories! But do what you think best I guess. This looks lovely!

  • Your personal stories and writing style is exactly what makes your blog so desirable! That and the chocolate. And the icecream.

  • I am very happy to see the plethora of agreeing viewpoints concerning your momentary leap into the deep end of the bad advice pool – which appears to be even more filthy than the Seine – that ain’t absinthe making it so green…

    Now go to your computer and your cookery, be cleansed and listen to *advice* like that no more!

  • oohhh come on! what happened after the gorgeous absinthe ice cream was eaten??

  • As I see things, a jerk came and told david that he needed to stop anything but the recipes, and tried to *teach* him what his readers would love most than what he was already doing. What is best as a camouflet than this long list of love words from the readers.

    I think there’s a pesky someone that feels really ridiculous now :)

  • Krysalia and bwilson: Actually, I woke up this morning and a reader sent a really nasty message about a typo in this post. While I strive for perfect, it’s incroyable that people can’t simply send a “There’s a typo in line #4 that you might want to correct” kind of message. I welcome messages and corrections, since my eyesight seems to be failing (which coincided with me turning 50!)

    Charles: You’ve got quite a memory!

    cdelphine: I’m untrustworthy? Or am I just busted ; )

    Lynn in Tuscan: I bought it at a flea market for €1. I think it’s from the 60s and I love it! It hard a plastic orange handle, too.

    AmyH: If you’re interested in men’s rooms and midsections, you might find more than you bargained for in my book. There’s tips on épilation, naked sock-fittings, and an eye-burning encounter on the banks of the Seine with a topless sunbather.

    I know they don’t have anything to do with food, but that might be a good thing~

  • Have just finished the book, am new to this site, and couldn’t agree more with the above who want you to keep up the *tales* along with the recipes. Lived in Neuilly from ’83 to 91 and was counting on you to keep me current (sic). Loved the book, from both sides, especially the chuckle parts that had nothing to do with the food. Your painter was my plumber. Your book is a wonderfully complete recipe for living there, Paris may be all about food, but there are many, many hours away from the table that you’ve chronicled with great elan. Go for it!

  • I’ve been followed (and forwarded) your blog for a very long time. And I don’t even bake! It’s your humor, photos, and musings of life in Paris that entice me to come back for more. In fact, skip the recipes altogether. Make people buy your cookbooks if they want to create something as wonderful as your stories and photos show us. And let their editors do the proofreading!

  • I agree with many of the sentiments above in that, while I love your recipes, I also love your commentaries! Your blog always gives me a good laugh. Who is giving you this advice?!

  • Quit listening to those idiots! We love to hear your commentaries..it takes away from our life for a moment!

  • David,
    First, I would like to thank you for another recipe where I could use Absinthe (I use it when I steam Mussels, Mmmm).
    Second, continue do what you do best. Cooking and your stories. You are a story teller and that is a gift.
    Keep up the good work (typos and all). :-)

  • David,

    Thank you for “lighting up my Sunday morning”. Awesome!

  • *wipes drool from her mouth and swoons* LOVELY!!

  • Other people’s opinions are highly over rated. Listen to your guts and do what you wish with your blog! You are the author, not “them.”

    That said…YUM!!!!!

  • Bonjour David,
    I have been reading your blog for a while, but I have always been too shy to comment on your posts. Please don’t stop writing your stories! Not only, your posts are interesting and entertaining, but what you write is also very inspiring.
    I personally think I have learned a lot from you!
    Thank you!

  • Phew . . .glad to see from browsing the comments and your responses that you are NOT going to take any so-called “advice” to stop your wonderful writing on ALL subjects!!!! I thought maybe it was a joke, but I *am* sorry that a reader was so nasty that you felt that frustrated!!!! Please know that the grande grande grande majorité of us love you and love your writing! Your site wouldn’t be the same without all your witty observations!!!!

    Hang in there and don’t let the jerks get you down.

  • P.s. Re the ‘brilliance’ of Aleksander Rybak, I personally voted for Estonia last night!!!!

    : )

  • David, I’ve had a bottle of absinthe hanging out in the back of my cabinet for over a year. NOW I know what I’m going to make with it. Merci!

    I second the other 90+ folks above: your stories are priceless! Funny, enjoyable, they bring happiness to my day. I cannot wait to read your book. I’m making a trip to the Pacific Northwest next week, and your book will be the one I purchase while visiting the famed Powell’s!

  • I don’t like to be redundant, but I’ve just got to join the chorus here and say that you simply cannot stop writing your stories into your blog. Recipes are, unfortunately, a bit of a commodity in the age of the internet, even when they are wonderful ones. Your approach to cooking, your humor, and your incredible talent for writing are what make the recipes stand out and come alive. When I make something from this site, I feel like I’m cooking with you, learning from you, an ocean away, having never met, because my mind is filled with the little tidbits of your personality that you let through every week. A simple recipe or bit of technique wouldn’t have that feel at all. I compare it to the difference between buying a local heirloom tomato from Whole Foods or buying it from the guy at the farm stand who grew it. Same tomato, entirely different experience. I’d never make just another chocolate cake recipe when I already have one I like, but one that came from a bathroom wall in Paris? Who could resist?

  • Oh please, babble on. Thats why I love your blog so much! That and things like absinthe ice cream. I love anise and imagine this would be one of my favorite ice creams ever. I need to find an ice cream maker.

  • I have to say, there are times when I send my sister an email with a few sentences from some of your posts, they are so funny and entertaining. Please keep them coming!

  • Stop being such a tease! You know that you really want to write about epilating Sarah Palin in the men’s room in your socks. Or something like that.

    Now excuse me. As soon as I knock back this absinthe I’m going to go buy some Levi’s….

  • I love your stories, especially about Paris. I’ve learned so much. Please dont stop. Tell those people to read epicurious.com if they want only recipes.

  • NO David!!! I LOVE your stories! They make me laugh, smile, and nostalgic of when I was in Paris.

    Do not listen to that ‘advice’. I think that person is just trying to sabotage you.