Why Is Absinthe Expensive? (It’s Actually Not!)


I see it all the time.

Whether I’m recommending an absinthe to a friend or on a “restocking trip” at my local liquor store, the price tag associated with absinthe always gets a reaction.

Now, I’m not rich by any means.

But it seems to catch people off guard when I don’t even flinch at the idea of paying upwards of $100 for a bottle of absinthe.

So you might be wondering why absinthe is so expensive. But the truth is that, when you look at what you’re getting for the price, it’s not!

Let me explain…

Why Is Absinthe Expensive?

Absinthe is an expensive drink primarily because it is so complicated to make. Few drinks are as labor-intensive to produce as absinthe!

The main factors that affect absinthe prices include:

  • the brand
  • state or country of origin
  • the quality of herbs used to make it
  • alcohol content

For example, a bottle of absinthe from France or Switzerland is likely to be more expensive than a bottle produced domestically.

Because absinthe is such a delicate spirit to craft, using higher-quality herbs in the process is vital to creating the best flavors. The herbs must be carefully selected and painstakingly processed to create the final product.

This all adds to the cost of absinthe.

Lastly, absinthes with a higher alcohol content also tend to be more expensive.

Absinthe typically contains between 55 and 75 percent alcohol by volume. This makes it much stronger than most other liquors.

Despite all of these factors, absinthe is still a popular drink. It has a unique flavor that many people enjoy. And, for some, the high price tag only adds to the appeal.

So, when you are shopping for absinthe, be sure to keep these factors in mind!

Related: How Much Alcohol Is In Absinthe (and Why It’s So Strong!)

LaRusée may be expensive, but it’s simply magical. (Review here!)

How Much Should You Expect To Pay For A Good Absinthe?

For most quality absinthes, you can expect to pay between $60 and $100 per 750 mL bottle. However, most are in the $60-$80 range.

With that said, price isn’t everything.

One of the benefits of more absinthe distilleries entering the market is that you can possibly find some local treasures. These will usually be comparatively cheaper than imported bottles of the same.

But you’re not entirely wrong for judging a bottle by its price. Let’s be honest: we all do it.

While this isn’t a “be all, end all” opinion, my hard and fast opinions when I see price tags for various absinthes is somewhere along these lines:

  • $40 or less = This is probably just anise-flavored vodka or an overpriced sugary mess.
  • $50 – $60 = Could go either way, but probably worth a try (especially if it’s made in the U.S.)
  • $60 – $80 = About what I expect for a standard absinthe of reasonable quality
  • $80 – $120 = I’m in for a treat!
  • $120+ = “Jeeves, fetch my top hat and monocle!”
Absinthe fountains add even more to the absinthe experience!

Price Perspective

Especially if you’re used to typically spending no more than $20 or $30 a bottle for other liquors, I understand the “sticker shock” that comes with entering the world of absinthe.

However, it’s important to remember a couple of key things.

First, a 750 mL bottle of absinthe will last the average person quite a while. If you’re enjoying it at the occasional absinthe gathering or making cocktails for two, that bottle could easily last 6 months to a year.

Stored properly, it could last even longer! (Some bottles of absinthe have been discovered that are over 100 years old and are still good!)

Related: How to Properly Store Absinthe

When preparing absinthe, you’re only ever using an ounce or two at a time (depending on your taste.) That means you’ve got between 13 and 25 drinks in a standard 750mL bottle!

Compare that to bars charging $20 a glass and the same amount would cost you somewhere around $260 to $500!

Second, most people who enjoy absinthe on a regular basis will tell you that it’s worth every penny. The flavor, experience, and culture that come with absinthe are like nothing else.

Absinthe is an expensive drink, but it is also a luxurious one. If you enjoy it, don’t let the cost deter you. Instead, savor every moment and enjoy the absintheur lifestyle!

Conclusion

Absinthe may seem like a luxury purchase, but it is actually very good value for the price.

After all, absinthe is meant to be savored, not guzzled which means a little goes a long way. This makes it a very economical choice for those who appreciate fine spirits.

When you consider the price per serving, absinthe is actually quite a bargain!

In addition, the best absinthes are made with high-quality ingredients and require a lot of time and care to produce. You’re not just paying for a strong drink, you’re paying for expert craftsmanship and some of the best herbs ever grown!

When shopping for absinthe, it is important to avoid simply looking for the cheapest bottle possible. Instead, focus on finding a quality product that you will enjoy savoring.

And, hey, if you’re looking for absinthe reviews, I know a cheeky green devil who’s happy to offer his two cents!

You can find my current absinthe reviews here!

The Absinthe Fiend

Writer, absintheur, and cheeky devil. Don't let the name fool you! I'm actually very friendly (though a bit eccentric...)

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