Discussion in 'The Speakeasy' started by strat1117, May 15, 2009.

  1. Eric Asimov had an article on Absinthe this week in the NY Times which piqued my interest. I've never tried it, and I only know one person who has. Any of you have any experience with this mysterious elixir? Which are the best? What should I be looking for? What is the proper way to enjoy it?

  2. With ice water, a bit of sugar, skip the fire.
    If you don't like sambuca or ouzo don't bother.
  3. There are a lot of different kinds, not all are green. They come in blue, clear and red too. In my experience, the better ones (to me) are the Swiss versions. I especially liked Suisse Verte which cost about 60 Euro and had 72% alcohol per volume and Suisse La Bleue Clandestine. But there really are a lot of different types, Strong, smooth, deluxe, different colors, different alcohol contents, with anise, without anise, etc. My advice would be to narrow down what your looking for, ie flavor, strength, smoothness, how much you want to spend, etc.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  4. Even if you do like sambuca or ouzo, don't bother. :tongue:

    One of my roommates picked up a bottle on my college days. I can only describe the taste as one part ouzo, four parts water with a hint of tree bark.

    Though it was amusing watching him and a friend believe they were under the effect of wormwood for the rest of the night.
  5. I think absynth is illegal here in socal..alcahol proof is too high..though in NYC its no prob..weird
  6. Absinthe is the new fad, although it's already not as popular around here as it was 6 months ago. There was a mad rush for many producers to get their product on the market as soon as it was re-legalized in the states. In their rush to market, there are quite a few that are wretched, vile concoctions full of artificial flavors and colors. Le Tourmet is the worst! It's about the color of Scope mouthwash, and doesn't taste as good.

    There are getting to be some real quality producers, Lucid is probably the most commonly found (at least around here), easily recognized by it Cat Eye label, but even small, craft distillers are beginning to produce their own versions. There is a significant difference in taste from one offering to the next, and many different producers claim that they use "the original" recipe.

    A little bit goes a long way in cocktails (many call for mere rinses), as it's high alcohol content and strong anise-herbal flavor can easily dominate any drink. Served in the traditional manner, whereby cold water is slowly dripped over a sugar cube into awaiting neat absinthe, is an interesting way to experience this liquor and all the presentation that goes with it.

    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of absinthe. Those that I have tried have somewhat of a "medicinal" taste that I find a little off-putting.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  7. I'm not looking to start an absinthe "collection" at this point. I'm really just looking for one representative bottle to try out -- high end but not necessarily the most expensive.

    Sounds like you are recommending the Suisse Verte or Bleue Clandestine.
  8. it all tastes like anise to me :)

    2 ways of doing it, if it is true absinthe it has oils in it, and when you add water it comes out of suspension and becomes opaque, like milk, water is poured through the sugarcube on the spoon and the louche is made

    if it is a wormwood infusion , as in , not true absinth, just absinthe flavoured alcohol, usually synhthetic flavours and will not come out of suspension the same way, it will just dilute, so people started pouring the fakie absinth on a sugar cube, then lighting it, whitch turns the sugar into a syrup , then water is poured in to extinguish it, and when the sugar is stirred in it creates a semi milky "Pseudo-louche "

    sadly, it tastes like crap :( unless you love black licorice and ouzo

    here is how true absinthe is prepared
  9. If you're looking for something to just 'try' I wouldn't go with those two, as they are expensive, so if you don't like it you spent $70-100 on something you wont drink. To just try I would recommend something like Coulin, Abtshof or La Salla. I would probably shoot for Abtshof personally, but a lot of people claim it doesn't taste like 'real' absinthe. Its sort of sweet and cough syrupy, and it creates a real nice milky louche like show in the pictures above. Overall, these are what I would term 'middle of the road' types. A good place to start that won't break the bank, but give you a good idea of what its all about.

    Also like the other guys mentioned, you drip water over a sugar cube when you drink it. I've never mixed it in a drink, but if you do go that route, I wouldn't use a lot because the anise will overpower the rest of the flavor.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  10. Luc

    Luc Moderator Emeritus

    I wouldn't know which absinthe to recommend as I tried 3-4 and never liked the stuff. The described taste (Anise + ouzo / black licorice) is correct. Unless you like that kind of taste, do not even stop as it could be a very expensive drink.

    They are available in Oz but I didn't buy any. SWMBO likes it but not enough to trade it for her Tequila.
  11. I'm fond of Absinthe myself, but I also like ouzo. Absinthe generally isn't as heavily anise'd as ouzo though, and the wormwood adds a welcome bitter bite.

    Personally I don't add sugar. I don't know of Absinthe was always sweet or if this is a modern thing, but even Absinthes like Kubler that pride themselves on their traditional recipes are still sweet enough that they don't need sugar. I just dilute them about 3:1 and that's all it takes.

    Definitely avoid Le Tourment Vert, as it looks and tastes like Scope, and does not louche. Kubler 53% is a nice Blanche from Switzerland, and the Lucid verte is pretty decent as well. I also like Versinthe, but lots of the absinthe reviews dislike it.

    There is a lot of variety in Absinthes, partly because it's nearly untrammeled territory after the last century of banishment, partly because the surviving absinthes are all oxidized, and partly because, like Gin, there's a lot of room to play with the botanical blend that goes in to it. The purists bemoan the violation of "tradition" but that doesn't really bother me much, since absinthe in its heyday was mostly a poor man's drink in France (and Louisiana) comparable to Gin's status in England.

    My primary use of absinthe in mixed drinks is with Sazerac's, where the absinthe is used to coat the inside of the glass before pouring in the rest of the ingredients. Even though this is only a few drops, it's absolutely critical to the taste of the cocktail.
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  12. Yup.

    If you're after the famed psychotropic properties, find something else.
  13. Like this?
  14. I use it to coat the glass when I make a Sazerac.

    That way, the bottle should last a long time.
  15. Is there a place you can buy this without shipping costing a fortune?
  16. Where are you that you have to ship? I live in Po-dunk and I can find a few examples in my local liquor store.
  17. I tried some recently up in Seattle, it was Pacifique. My wife, who is a hugh anise fan did not care for it at all, I found it interesting. I only had one glass, but it did give a decent buzz. To me it did not have the bite of anise, but was very different from what I think of when thinking of anise or licorice. There is a brand of soft licorice from Austrailia, which I can't remember the name of that comes in a red and black bag. It is very similiar in taste to, at least to me and my uneducated tastebuds. Pacifique is made by a small distiller in Washington state, not sure of the price.
  18. I have to ship to colorado. Since you can't buy it in a store in the states.
  19. And this is precisely why most people want to try it in the first place. Absinthe is probably one of, if not THE, most overrated alcoholic beverages on the market.

  20. I don't think that's true anymore. Hence the sudden boom in interest and an article in the NY Times which brought it to my attention in the first place.

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