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I've had absinthe served to me using an absinthe fountain several times. You have a little absinthe in a glass and you use the fount to slowly drip water over the glass. On top of the glass there is usually a silver absinthe spoon with a sugar cube. When the desired amount of water has been added you stir the sugar cube into the diluted absinthe.

Recently I went to a bar and ordered a glass of absinthe. The bar tender didn't use a fountain. Instead he had a little carafe of water on the side. He put an absinthe spoon and sugar cube over the glass and set the sugar cube on fire with a lighter. After several seconds he pushed the cube into the glass of absinthe and stirred before adding in some water from the carafe. He told me to just add more water if it was too strong. I told him I'd never seen this method of serving absinthe and he said that burning the sugar and eyeballing adding water from a separate container in his opinion is a better way to serve absinthe.

Is there a more universally preferred way to serve Absinthe? What is the benefit of burning the sugar?

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    The entertainment benefit of FIRE. Nov 21, 2022 at 5:37

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What benefit does burning the sugar cube bring to enjoying a glass of absinthe?

There is no real benefit to burning a sugar cube over a glass of absinthe, other than making it a tad bit sweeter.

It all simply part of a minor less followed traditional way of serving absinthe also known a the absinthe ritual that is followed by some.

Flaming Absinthe One popular method is to pour the absinthe over the sugar cube while on the spoon, then light it aflame. Allow the sugar to melt into the absinthe. Extinguish the flame whenever you want with a drizzle of cold water or club soda to create the louche, then stir the remaining sugar into the liquid.

This works because absinthe is high-proof, so it will easily light on fire. However, as with any flaming drinks, you need to be very careful. Be sure to take a few safety precautions—pull back loose clothing or hair, clean up any alcohol spills, and have a fire extinguisher or, at least, a glass of water nearby—to avoid accidents. It's also not a good idea to ignite alcohol when you're drunk. Keep your wits about you and play it safe! - How to Drink Absinthe

The burning of a sugar cube is not a very popular way of serving absinthe as it could go sideways. Fire can be very dangerous and absinthe has a very high alcohol content and thus can burn quite well.

Truth be told, the sugar cube may light up for just a short moment, but the flame will quickly subside, at which point one would drizzle water over the sugar cube and into the absinthe.

Absinthe is an acquired taste of which I myself am not fond of. But that is just me.

If you go this route, please be very careful.

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There is no canonical way to drink something, the rule of thumb is to drink the way you like it better in your mouth.

That being said, I experienced the same serving method, and the bartender told me that with that particular type of absinthe, the taste of caramel (for this the step of burning the sugar) was the perfect match.

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