A drink once believed to date to antiquity is now known to be much more recent. The anise flavored beverage has it's roots in mainstream american drinking culture during the late 19th and early 20th century.
What better place for such a composition be found than New Orleans? Old Absinthe House has long proclaimed proprietorship over this cocktail, however, there is very little conclusive evidence that the drink was created there.
The Absinthe Drip appears in literature as early as:
Wormwood: A Drama of Paris by Marie Corelli in 1890
Then soon after in the ever popular:
The Flowing Bowl: When and what to Drink : Full ... - Page 147 by William Schmidt in 1891
A medium-sized glass, a drink of absinthe in the bottom. Fill your glass with cold water, by letting it drip into the glass very slowly. A tumbler full of ice, 2 dashes of gum, 1 pony of absinthe, 1 dash of maraschino.
The Absinthe Drip was created for the same reasons as the julep, crusta, and of course the cocktail, as a medicinal composition as seen here:
College and Clinical Record - Volume 16 - Page 170 in 1895
"three out of every four are sipping absinthe with a cube of sugar on it and water allowed to drip slowly through, it assumes an opalescent green color with a taste of anise-seed."
Today, even at the Old Absinthe House, you will likely be served "herbsaint" which is actually an anagram for "a b s i n t h e". In 1907, when absinthe was made illegal in the united states, it was even illegal to be printed on labels, hence the name. Herbsaint, created in new orleans is still a very popular absinthe substitute despite absinthe's repeal in 2007.
This drink dates to 1890 and contained at least as of then:
Absinthe poured over a sugar cube placed on an absinthe spoon, in a crushed iced filled absinthe glass, then ignited.
Slowly drip water over the flame, mix with absinthe spoon.