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How To Make An Oscar Wilde Cocktail

To celebrate what would’ve been Oscar Wilde’s birthday today, we’re sharing how to make a drink fit for the legendary writer, raconteur, and lover of cocktails, absinthe and Champagne.

Throughout his extraordinary life, Oscar Wilde was known for his sharp wit and sense of humour. He was also famous for enjoying a drink or two.

Combining these two characteristics with an amazing talent for a turn of phrase, Wilde is easily the most quoted for booze-related quips.

Two drinks Oscar Wilde loved more than any other were Champagne and absinthe, both of which feature in this cocktail. Indeed, if they weren’t in the recipe, I’d be in fear of Wilde’s sharp tongue from beyond the grave!

Wilde clearly had high (in both senses) opinions of absinthe when he asked: “What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?

As for Champagne, Wilde pre-empted this cocktail with: “Only the unimaginative can fail to find a reason for drinking Champagne.

So for a cocktail called the Oscar Wilde, these two ingredients were non-negotiable.

How To Make An Oscar Wilde Cocktail

The Oscar Wilde was created by—Chris Edwards—a bartender at an eclectic music venue called the Handbury Club in Brighton, UK.

This bar closed in 2010, but in its place is now an upmarket cabaret and burlesque club that Wilde would most certainly have approved of.

Especially with this delicious eponymous drink on the menu!

- Australian craft absinthe to rinse - about 5ml. We love Head, Heart and Tales’ The Jezebel Absinthe

- 30ml Aussie gin*

- 1 sugar cube

- 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

- Champagne to top up

1. Rinse a champagne flute out with absinthe and discard (read ‘drink’) the excess

2. Soak the sugar cube with the Peychaud’s bitters and place it in the bottom of the flue

3. Add the gin so it covers the sugar, then top up with good quality Australian sparkling wine

*Most Aussie craft gins will do a good job here, but ideally something like Karu Distillery's Affinity Gin would be best. Something that’s fruity, nutty and has a little bit of spice to it. Citrus-forward gins won’t work as well.

The result is a heady mix of aniseed aroma from the absinthe brought to life by the bubbles of the very active sparkling wine.

When you pour the sparkling wine in, get ready for plenty of bubbles as they react with the surface of the sugar cube.

The gin and bitters work well together—Peychaud’s is aromatic, floral and herbaceous—and the sugar cube adds a little sweetness.

You’re left with quite an adult Champagne cocktail that will leave you feeling very happy, and in the words of our favourite Anglo-Irish bon vivant:

"Pleasure is the only thing one should live for, nothing ages like happiness."


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