As I mentioned last week on Truffles for Breakfast, I recently paid a visit to Vert d’Absinthe, the only store in Paris devoted exclusively to absinthe and its various accouterments. When the owner asked if we’d like to sample some absinthes, we eagerly agreed. He poured a bit in a glass, put a slotted spoon on top, placed a sugar cube on the spoon, and then positioned the glass carefully under one of the spigots of a device like this one.
Although such gadgets are generally called “absinthe fountains,” that term is a bit misleading. In fact, you fill them with ice water and use them to dilute your absinthe. Turning on the spigot, or robinette (various models have anywhere from one to four), allows the water to flow, but only one drop at a time. Yes, this is a type of fountain designed expressly to drip! The idea is that the water must fall slowly enough to dissolve the entire sugar cube by the time your drink has reached the desired level—typically a 4:1 or 5:1 ratio of water to absinthe.
Vert d’Absinthe sells the fountains here in Paris; you can also buy them online from such sources as La Maison d’Absinthe and Saxon Gifts, as well as (naturally) eBay. They’re pricey, and of course you’ll pay more if you’re getting an antique model from the early 1900s than for a modern reproduction. But they automate what is otherwise the rather tedious job of drizzling out ice water from a pitcher at a slow and steady rate for several minutes per glass.