If you’re tired of generic espresso martinis and are looking for a new, exciting coffee cocktail, look no further than the Flying Frenchman. The most common Flying Frenchman recipe calls for equal parts absinthe, espresso, and coffee liqueur, but there are a few different ways to make it depending on what you’re going for.
We’ll teach you how to make the original recipe and a few popular variations in this short guide. We will also give you a list of our favorite choices for absinthe and coffee liqueur.
How to Make Absinthe Coffee:
The simplest way to make a Flying Frenchman is by combining equal parts absinthe, espresso, and coffee liqueur. For one drink, we prefer to use an ounce of each.
This basic drink is somewhat strong owing to the absinthe. In general, absinthe is higher proof than vodka, often well over 100 proof. A standard drink is usually made from 80-proof liquor, making the Flying Frenchman about 1.5 times stronger than average. Keep in mind that the Flying Frenchman also contains coffee liqueur, which is around 40 proof.
We recommend taking it easy with these and limiting consumption to only one per sitting since they are quite strong.
Choosing Absinthe and Coffee Liqueur
Best Absinthe for Making a Flying Frenchman
Which absinthe you use has the biggest impact on your drink’s flavor? Absinthe is known for having a potent, often overwhelming herbal flavor. If you don’t like the taste of absinthe, you probably won’t like a Flying Frenchman since the absinthe provides the dominant flavor.
Here is a list of some of our favorite absinthes:
1. St. George Absinthe Verte
This is a great choice for people looking for no-frills absinthe. It’s readily available, reasonably priced, and a good example of what absinthe is all about.
2. Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte
A more exotic choice than the St. George, Leopold Brothers uses traditional processes to make absinthe. They use grapes as the base for fermentation and add anise, wormwood, and fennel later. They also steep the distilled absinthe in lemon balm and hyssop for additional flavor.
3. Tenneyson Absinthe Royale
This is a clear absinthe that uses beets as the base. It is a very clean-drinking absinthe, making it the best choice for people that don’t want extra flavors in their drink.
Best Coffee Liqueur for Making a Flying Frenchman
The other important ingredient appearing alongside absinthe in the Flying Frenchman is a coffee liqueur. There is less variation between coffee liqueurs than absinthes, but which you choose will still have a small effect on your drink.
Here’s our list of favorite coffee liqueurs for making Flying Frenchmans.
This is the most popular coffee liqueur overall for a reason. Nearly everyone with a well-stocked liquor cabinet has Kahlua, and it works well in the Flying Frenchman. We like to use Kahlua with the St. George absinthe when making someone their first Flying Frenchman since it gives them a solid baseline to compare more exotic absinthe and coffee liqueur pairings.
2. Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
If you want something a little more robust and a little sweeter than Kahlua, go with Mr. Black. It’s smooth enough to drink on its own and works well in cocktails, making it perfect for a Flying Frenchman.
3. Leopold Brothers Coffee Liqueur
Made by the same Leopold Brothers that make our number two absinthe, this coffee liqueur is bold and textured, sort of like French press coffee. Unsurprisingly, it pairs well with Leopold Brothers absinthe.
The Myth of Absinthe and Hallucination
We should mention that any concerns over drinking absinthe due to hallucinations are unwarranted. For many years, rumors circulated that absinthe can cause hallucinations, largely due to prominent figures like Picasso and Edgar Allen Poe supporting those rumors based on anecdotal evidence.
The truth is that while absinthe does contain trace amounts of the psychoactive chemical thujone, it doesn’t contain nearly enough to induce hallucinations. A more feasible explanation behind the persistent rumors—and likely what drove Picasso and Poe to support them—is absinthe’s high alcohol content. Since absinthe is nearly twice as strong as standard liquor, it is exceptionally easy to become extremely inebriated, leading to all kinds of impaired senses.
Flying Frenchman Cocktail
- Cocktail shaker
- Chilled glass
- 1 oz absinthe
- 1 oz coffee liqueur
- 1 oz espresso
- Combine absinthe, coffee liqueur, and espresso in a shaker with ice. Shake until the drink is very cold; at least 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Strain into a chilled glass.
- Garnish with three coffee beans for added flair.
Featured Image Credit: Alexander Prokopenko, Shutterstock
Table of Contents
- How to Make Absinthe Coffee:
- Choosing Absinthe and Coffee Liqueur
- The Myth of Absinthe and Hallucination
- Flying Frenchman Cocktail