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Lord Michael Lewis

Absinthe: The Topic

533 posts in this topic

I'll reiterate that the most traditional original absinthes used, besides wormwood, a mix of flavoring herbs to the maker's taste, including lemon balm, star anise, mint; sometimes oregano and others; and started with brandy or wine-grape eau-de-vie as a base.  When absinthe caught on in France mid-1800s, and new brands rushed to the market, a criticism (and occasional safety problem) was their reliance on cheap "alcool d'industrie" as the starting liquor.  (More in the standard US absinthe book by Barnaby Conrad, 1988).  Thus St.-George's ingredients are nearer the originals like Pernod Fils than with other modern absinthes I've seen (the Kübler and Lucid I've tried listed a plain alcohol base, as mentioned earlier).

This seems like a stretch to me.

The flavor of the the starting spirit has less effect on the final taste of an absinthe than the herbs in the first maceration prior to distillation, or the flavoring herbs used in the coloring step.

While Pernod Fils used a grape wine base (I'm not aware of historical distillers using brandy, but I'll stipulate that they may have ) and some of the lesser products that came along to grab market share used more "industrial" spirits as a base, this issue is not what separates the wheat from the chaff in the modern market. While in the historical market unscrupulous makers were able to get away with using downright dangerous ingredients to simulate the color and taste of absinthe, today's use of highly-refined neutral grain spirits is hardly an issue.

There are some distillers using grape wine spirit in the making of modern absinthes, and one (Clandestine, a name born of a lifetime of underground distillation, prior to the recent legalization, and not so much an attempt to be mysterious) who notably offers the same recipe made in two versions, one with NGS, and one with the grape wine base. All else being equal, you can taste, or maybe feel, the difference between the two. But many of the best modern absinthes are made with NGS, and I've yet to hear anyone claim this detracted from the quality or taste.

The St. George, with its stinging nettles, basil, meadowsweet, tarragon etc. is not closer in formula to the original greats like Pernod Fils by virtue of using a brandy base. Far more important to the final outcome are the herbs used in distillation and coloring .


Edited by Wild Bill Turkey (log)

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My book is ... also, luckily, printed on acid-free cloth paper which is still bright white and in excellent condition. When it first arrived, I had to double-check that it wasn't a reprint, it looked so good!
Welcome to the world of Slightly Older Books! Acid paper, and wood pulp instead of rag base, are 20th-century "innovations" (cost-cuttings) by which it's not unusual for a 20-year-old book to appear "older" than a 100-year-old book even halfway well kept. I have some good examples. (More about this surfaced in past eG food-book threads.) A little more on "formula books" too in a footnote Upthread.
[statement "St.-George's ingredients are nearer the originals like Pernod Fils than with other modern absinthes I've seen"] seems like a stretch to me.  The flavor of the the starting spirit has less effect on the final taste of an absinthe than the herbs ...

Welcome, Bill, to eG and this now seven-year-old discussion (and to the world of absinthes!). Your response answers points I did not make. Please note carefully that I wrote above about ingredients of early vs. modern absinthes, not flavor; and in reply to a comment contrasting absinthes to beverages "made from brandy, star anise, wormwood, mint, lemon balm, tarragon." That ingredients contrast becomes ironic in view of published 19th-c. recipes showing similar mixes of herbs, and Pernod Fils in the 1800s pointedly distinguishing its ingredients from those of later imitators by emphasizing its Cognac or related eau-de-vie base. That's from standard pre-2000 sources especially Conrad; you'll have seen those ingredients references yourself if you have read those sources seriously, so please dispute the sources directly if you differ about ingredients they cite.

I was not writing about taste comparison; I welcome any tasting notes ("final outcome").

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Thanks for the welcome, Max, but I've been in this discussion on eG since last Sept. (you've already quoted one of my posts), and in the world of absinthe for a few years already.

Barnaby Conrad's book (which is full of factual errors and is credited with having started the disproved rumor that E.A. Poe was an absinthe drinker) lists, on page 95, the six herbs in the recipe for Pernod Fils (and, it says, most other "legitimate" absinthes): Grand wormwood, green anise, (and specifically not star anise) melissa (lemon balm) and fennel in the macerate, and petite wormwood and hyssop in the coloring step. The starting spirit was an eau-de-vie distilled from grape wine. These six herbs, then, and the wine base, constitute the ingredients of most legitimate absinthes according to your source.

These six herbs are the ingredients found in Lucid and Clandestine (though the latter being a blanche, does not use the coloring herbs) and most of the well-reviewed absinthes on the market.

Compare this list of ingredients to the list of those found in St. George:

Star anise, mint, wormwood (no specific type listed), lemon balm, hyssop, meadowsweet, basil, fennel, tarragon, and stinging nettles, with brandy as the base spirit.

This dissimilarity in the herb bill is, I think, the reason why many people, including FG, who you were addressing, find the St. George to taste like another drink entirely, rather than just a slightly different-tasting absinthe.

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Barnaby Conrad's book (which is full of factual errors ...) [Note 1 -- M] lists... six herbs in the recipe for Pernod Fils: Grand wormwood, green anise, melissa (lemon balm), fennel, ... petite wormwood and hyssop in the coloring step....These six herbs, then, and the wine base, constitute the ingredients of most legitimate absinthes according to your source.
If you wish to argue seriously from sources, please don't filter them rhetorically but take them entire (as good handlers of factual data do). Mention that Conrad, also, earlier in his book, attributes ingredients to early absinthe maker Dr. Ordinaire including dittany, sweet flag, and/or coriander, veronica, camomile, parsley, "and even spinach." And later in the book, reports an 1889 medical study of ingredients used in absinthes: hyssop, wormwood [sic], fennel, anise, angelica, oregano, Melissa, and mint. Baggott 1997 (cited earlier today) quotes from Simon and Schulter's Guide to Herbs and Spices an Henri-Louis Pernod recipe with "aniseed, fennel, hyssop, and lemonbalm along with lesser amounts of angelica, star anise, dittany, juniper, nutmeg, and veronica" and that other makers sometimes included "nutmeg and calamus."

All that informed my December-29 point: absinthe makers mixed herbs to taste, drawing sometimes from a wide palette. (If anyone took this to assert that mint, star anise etc. were always included, I apologize: that wasn't my intent.)

Compare this list of ingredients to the list of those found in St. George: Star anise, mint, wormwood (no specific type listed) [Note 2 --M], lemon balm, hyssop, meadowsweet, basil, fennel, tarragon, and stinging nettles, with brandy as the base spirit. / This dissimilarity in the herb bill is, I think, the reason why many people, including FG... find the St. George to taste like another drink entirely.
I don't dispute your opinion about that (or anyone's tasting notes -- the more the better!). For what it's worth, in my anecdotal contact with tasting appraisals, St.-George vs. widely available modern absinthes (in broad food-drink fora and in person), many people, like FG above, enjoyed the St.-George, whether or not it conforms to a current standard absinthe profile. My specific point, about its ingredients being unexotic in full historical context, stands.

Note 1: As with ingredient details, such offhand appraisal would gain weight were it less selective and rhetorical, mentioning also the vast accurate and valuable content present in Conrad's book.

Note 2: Not to belabor it, but: Dozens of different plants have common names containing "wormwood," an ancient folk term. Many in genus Artemisia, including so-called petit or Roman wormwood, A. pontica, also called green ginger. Some "wormwoods" are even outside the large parent family Asteraceae (formerly Compositae). I find "Roman wormwood" applied informally to some far-removed species, and you can too if you read up on it. Yet, overwhelmingly among respected modern sources in English, "wormwood" is understood clearly to mean Artemisia absinthium. Upthread I mentioned 16 examples of standard modern references on food, drinks, chemistry, pharmacy, language, and absinthe itself, that acknowledge this convention. Knowing most of those, and many other mentions of "wormwood," before the numbers of absinthe hobbyists swelled hugely a few years ago, I'm surprised to see some of them raise an issue now, as if "wormwood" were ambiguous in general writing, which it is not, and I urge wider reading, to anyone who has not yet picked that up. It's true that in some special absinthe-discussion contexts, multiple wormwoods can cause confusion and there the language is critical, and universally clarified via the Latin names.

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My response was to your assertion that St. George's ingredients were nearer to original absinthes "like Pernod Fils" than are the Kübler or Lucid, by virtue of its use of a brandy base, despite its use of herbs not found in the Pernod Fils.

The source that you cited twice in discussion of this point was the Conrad book, and so that's the one I referred to in response. This book, now 20 years old, is by no means the "standard" text on the subject of absinthe, however, and the inaccuracies I mentioned parenthetically are part of the reason why. But yes, many of the things written in this book are correct.

It isn't my intention to discuss every ingredient ever listed as having been used in making absinthe. The issue at hand was Pernod Fils and its like, and the source you cited listed only the mentioned ingredients.

The fact that a wide variety of herbs and even dangerous chemicals have been used over the years to make both absinthe and faux absinthe does not change the fact that, at its core, absinthe is made from the six herbs listed in the Pernod Fils recipe. Adding a lot of other herbs to it, especially those far afield of the cardinal herbs, such as stinging nettles or basil, will change the taste of the product to a point where even people who like it will note that it no longer tastes like absinthe, as is the case with FG, and a large percentage of the absinthe-drinking community.

My point, that use of a brandy base does not make St. George nearer in formula to the great original absinthes than Kübler or Lucid, stands. The base spirit is only one item in a list of ingredients, and my argument is that use of traditional core herbs is more of a determinant of nearness to the original than the starting spirit used.

Regarding the "wormwood" issue, by your own description this word can become confusing in the context of an absinthe discussion, where different wormwoods are involved, so it's helpful to clarify to which you are referring, which the St. George label does not. I do not require, as you would, that he use Latin names, but simply tell me whether he means Grand or Petit, as one is used for the primary distillate and one is more involved in coloring. I'm curious why you would assume I've done no reading on the subject.

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My response was to your assertion that St. George's ingredients were nearer to original absinthes "like Pernod Fils" than are the Kübler or Lucid, by virtue of ...of a brandy base, despite .. herbs not found in the Pernod Fils. [Emphasis added.]

Ah: Two separate factors, my original posting combined them. (A) Herbs. Certainly I agree the literature shows many mainstream 19th-c. absinthes using a core group of herbs. Same literature also attributes a much wider range of herbs, which I quoted recently, both to pioneering absinthes (by Ordinaire, by Pernod Fils founder Henri-Louis Pernod) and to absinthes commercially important enough in 1889 for their ingredients to be investigated. (First part of this situation seems to've made a stronger impression than the second.)

(B) Alcohols. Other factors being equal, brandy or other wine-distillate base is nearer to reported Pernod Fils pre-ban practice than grain-neutral alcohol is. That's not seriously in dispute, and doesn't speak to flavor of course. Dec. 29 I first generalized point (A) as "the most traditional original absinthes;" then the alcohol connection (B), together with the Henri-Louis recipe, underlay my final statement meaning St George's ingredients list was not out of line with historical recipes as reported. (That part may clash with some people's notions, but not with the literature. Herbs like basil and oregano also should be no more surprising than mint -- same family.) Re-reading, I could well have been clearer; I seem to imply most Pernod Fils products shared both alcohol base and herb variety with St. George, which is wrong by the sources I have, is careless, and my responsibility.

[Conrad,] now 20 years old, is by no means the "standard" text on the subject of absinthe ...
Here's the context of my characterization of it so. Most of the current hobby interest is five years old or even less. For the 15 years before that time, Conrad's was almost the only US popular book on the subject (derived of course partly from a French antecedent), and was very familiar to people interested then. Some, such as Ted Breaux, who came to the subject before most hobbyists, are on record citing it as their introduction. Elsewhere I mentioned that my Google searches on "absinthe" 2000-2001 returned around ten hits. That was all before most current hobbyists knew anything about absinthe, before I saw anyone mention an "absinthe-drinking community," and years before wormwoodsociety.org (2004). How accurately people describe the history of absinthe information before they themselves saw it measures their perceptions, not the history.
... where different wormwoods are involved, ... it's helpful to clarify to which you are referring, which the St. George label does not.... I'm curious why you would assume I've done no reading on the subject.
Please. I assumed no such thing, Bill, and I apologize for any such impression. Note 2 above was general, addressing a quirk of some recent hobbyist absinthe writing. If acclaimed authorities on herbal chemistry, other science, language, food, and drinks all clearly understand plain "wormwood" to mean A. absinthium in general writing, why don't recent tutorials do so too? I wasn't referring there to the St.-George label. I'd guess it means A. absinthium like almost all related general writing, but I agree it might depart from that to embrace also the usual colorant "wormwood" and if it were earlier in the day I'd just call the distiller in Alameda and ask. You could also do so, enlightening me and others too.

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And now for something completely different.

I was going through some old papers and I came across an invitation to one of the absinthe (okay, "steepsinthe," really) parties I used to throw back in the mid-90s. This one was from 1994, and for it I composed the following sonnet to absinthe, which I present not because I believe it has any poetic merit whatsoever, but because some might find its utter ridiculousness amusing.

     Absinthia

O lady bittersweet, o green and fair!

     Thy sidelong clouded gaze, when chance it rest

Upon my beaded brow, o rapture rare!

      A flower blooms ‘mid thoughts with care oppressed.

Away, ye cheap, commercial antidotes!

     A troubled age will not be soothed by beer—

No whiskeys raw nor bottled creosotes

     Are fit to exfoliate its grim veneer.

But thou, in emerald mists of lassitude,

     Enfoldst the subjects of thy vernal throne,

Removest them far from clerk and shopgirl rude,

     From antimacassar, curb and stone—

Absinthia! O meadowgreen, now come!

For, failing thou, we needs must turn to rum.

  --Peter Allen Poe, Baltimore, 1872

I had a lot of time on my hands back then.


Edited by Splificator (log)

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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The forbidden, or dangerous, aura clearly carries perceived marketing value.
Marteau? Obsello?

Good one! :biggrin:

I assume Brooks was making fun (not online-arguing in the style of no there aren't any Chinese restaurants there, because there are Indian ones too). But in case the link goes down later, three of eight offerings are called Sirène Verte, Clandestine, and Taboo, with artwork to match. Of course this may be pure coincidence, not mystique marketing. There may be no such trend in absinthe and absinthe-like products this decade, pervading them like a miasma. Literally, for the paper overwrap label on a bottle (ca. 2001) of Muse Verte ("Le Pastis d'Autrefois" in case the point was not already hammered home) showing strange mists and vapors around an absinthe glass with slotted spoon and flat sugar cube; this may be artistic license only. The paper circular attached to the Dr. Roux Elixir bottle stressing so clearly that the herbal liquor is not an aphrodesiac though several components have the reputation; not psychoactive despite reports about some of its herbs, etc., may be purely to dispel misconceptions. As with the recent absinthe tutorials and popular articles I've read that play up assumptions from long-obsolete mystique, even while they purport to be enlightening the public beyond such things. Probably just pure chance!

Actually if you look at the old Absinthe Robette poster, you'll see that Muse Verte pastis was just playing off the graphics of the old Absinthe Robette art work.

More like copying old Art Nouveau images.


At The close of the day, Drink an Herbsaint Frappe...Legendre Herbsaint, Always served when absinthe is called for.

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The forbidden, or dangerous, aura clearly carries perceived marketing value.
Actually if you look at the old Absinthe Robette poster, you'll see that Muse Verte pastis was just playing off the graphics of the old Absinthe Robette art work.

More like copying old Art Nouveau images.

Yes of course. The Privat-Livemond poster for Robette is famous (and has even been parodied artistically in some quarters). Its wispy filigree background is solider, somewhat plantlike.

The 2001 Muse Verte label art I have is more stylized, like fumes or miasma, with no human figure.

I feel sure though that Herbsaint has hit the nail on its intellectual head: The high-minded producers of Muse Verte intended their label of mysterious rising vapors to suggest to most customers an oblique allusion to fine art. Not mystique or opium dens or 21-year-olds getting hiiiiiiiiiiigh, man! No. I stand corrected! :-)

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When I bought a bottle of Muse Verte about nine years ago, the first thing I saw was the similar style to the Robette image, I guess I must defer to your laser like perception of rampaging connections to opium dens.

I suppose that Berneau's other pastis; L'Artemise, with the naked women on the label, has equal connections to youngsters ready to pop 30+ bucks for an opium den type of experience.

That must be why Berneau's pastis is marketed just like Crillon's swill, with numerous posters and other promotional junk to connect their pastis with a drug like high to the youngsters. :laugh:


At The close of the day, Drink an Herbsaint Frappe...Legendre Herbsaint, Always served when absinthe is called for.

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For my part, I always found those cloudy swirls to be more expressive of the swirling clouds that form in the glass as the drink is louching. In the Privat-Livemont poster, there are very similar swirls happening inside the glass, suggesting that the artist thought this way as well.


Edited by Wild Bill Turkey (log)

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...I suppose that Berneau's other pastis; L'Artemise, with the naked women on the label, has equal connections to youngsters ready to pop 30+ bucks for an opium den type of experience. ... must be why Berneau's pastis is marketed just like Crillon's swill, with numerous posters and other promotional junk to connect their pastis with a drug like high to the youngsters.  :laugh:

Marketing like that, as I mentioned before, pervades absinthe products now, an observation hard to miss from a distance (like a forest and trees). Marketing in turn reflects what sellers think sells, or to whom.

Not that it's limited to absinthes of course. Few years ago a regional US party fad started for a cordial labeled Hypnotiq. (Labeling had enough hints at Russian, Cyrillic lettering -- where "Hyp" = Roman "Nur" -- that the name could almost be read Nurotiq - subtle prank?) Frosted bottle, blue liquid, scent from childhood -- "Hawaiian Punch" -- mfr. even says "natural tropical fruit juices" (seven? ;-)

For my part, I always found those cloudy swirls to be more expressive of the swirling clouds that form in the glass...

Note in an earlier posting mentions related dialect source of word "pastis" (from a standard French food-drink reference book).

On my Muse Verte label, vapors are whispy and behind the glass -- stylized away from the Robette art. This label may also have changed over time -- I only have one sample. (This 750 ml label art has a crude correction of a small code at lower left of green field, looks like"70 CL" was X'd out with gold ink used elsewhere in the graphics. Originally intended for an off-size bottle maybe.)

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Making La Fee Absinthe the French Way

I like the Evil Eye that La Fee uses in their advertising. Right down to the slotted spoon with that glaring Illuminati eye.

gallery_22892_3828_29583.jpg

We were with friends in Bahrain for New Years ( which I really should write up) and they had a small bottle of La Fee, complete with full junkie kit of slotted spoon ( with eye) and sugar cube.

gallery_22892_3828_4021.jpg

According to the instructions (this is breakfast, we follow instructions at breakfast) we first poured the absinthe into the glass.

gallery_22892_3828_17469.jpg

then we did the junkie thing and prepped the sugar cube.

gallery_22892_3828_20437.jpg

And then we poured hot water through the burning sugar.

Y'know, it was okay, but somehow I didn't quite feel like Hemingway in Spain.

Where'd that pink elephant come from?

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Honestly, I don't know why it is an issue of debate that many, many absinthe-makers are trading on the "mystique" relating to absinthe in their labeling and promotions. Indeed, with the strong historical perceived relationship of absinthe and its characteristic artwork with "special inebriation," I can hardly see how this could fail to be the case. A producer of absinthe would have to take deliberate steps in its artwork and packaging to avoid such an association.

To suggest that artwork reproducing or evoking classic absinthe-related artwork from the past doesn't associate that absinthe with the image of "absinthe as a drug," whether knowingly and willfully or not, is like suggesting that a product calling itself "Electric Koolade" with a label reproducing/evoking the elements of a classic Jimi Hendrix poster from the mid 1960s is not automatically associated with LSD -- especially if people had various legendary, albeit false reasons to suppose that the drink just might contain some hallucinogenic. This, needless to say, would be a ridiculous position to take.

Sure, the US government is being very strict in its labeling requirements. But, you know... these guys want to sell their products. And the fact is that college kids who think they're going to get a "special high" remains, as always, a lucrative market. As for La Muse Vert in particular, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to understand that this label, while evocative of older artwork (much of which, not for nothing, played up the presumed "extra affects" of absinthe) is evocative of the "drug culture" side of absinthe in a way that this label is not (I have also found this image for La Muse Vert, but it appears to be a pastis label).


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Thanks slk -- trenchant summary. Commentary on the mystique and its marketing value aren't new; by the 1960s for instance Grossman's US drinks reference book (mentioned earlier, including here) remarked wryly on absinthe's aura of mystery (and its toxicity -- from the alcohol, not the wormwood). Grossman himself had experience selling absinthe in earlier decades if I recall. "It is supposed to be wicked, to drive the drinker insane, to have killed many." (Useful points in marketing to the middle-class young!)

I have also found this image for La Muse Vert, but it appears to be a pastis label.

Yes, that's the one discussed upthread. Yellow label with green field and in my sample, some dickering with the bottle-size wording at lower left of the green. It's a wormwood-free pastis, but its name and label allude to absinthe.

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Peter, thanks for report and good pix. I noticed suspiciously cheerful green color. Pure herbal products tend toward a paler green in my experience. shantytownbrown asked me: "Unless, from what I have recently learned, it is kept in a light protected (read dark glass) bottle; It is the light that degrades the chlorophyl to a brown color, and one should be wary of clear glass bottles containing absinthe that is bright green (read: color added)." Could be. What I know is I always see paler, often brown or yellow-tinged, green in quality absinthes, even very fresh, but a different color in cheap versions that also are less interesting flavorwise. And years ago I made an alcoholic spice macerate from mostly basil leaf, recommended for flavoring soups (from a formula book cited earlier -- Henley's), and it too had the paler, off-green color from the start. Such a leaf maceration step gives color to traditional absinthes.

And then we poured hot water through the burning sugar.

Peter, Note that water through a sugar cube is the classic custom, but burning sugar cubes is recent, and adds a burnt flavor. I never saw it in earlier writings. Some newcomers to absinthe confuse it with the original sugar-cube custom. First US writing I noticed citing burning sugar was Baggott in 1997 (linked upthread), the original Internet absinthe tutorial. After classic reports of subtle aroma and flavor in a diluted absinthe, he added:
A variation of the traditional drinking ritual is apparently used in Prague ... a heaping teaspoon of sugar is briefly wet in the glass of pure absinthe, then lit on fire and held over the glass.  As the alcohol burns off, the sugar melts into the glass.  When the fire gets low, the remaining sugar is stirred into the drink and the drink is quickly drunk.  Obviously, this is a method for drinking quickly rather than savoring absinthe's taste.

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Peter, thanks for report and good pix.  I noticed suspiciously cheerful green color.  Pure herbal products tend toward a paler green in my experience.  shantytownbrown asked me:  "Unless, from what I have recently learned, it is kept in a light protected (read dark glass) bottle; It is the light that degrades the chlorophyl to a brown color, and one should be wary of clear glass bottles containing absinthe that is bright green (read: color added)."  Could be.  What I know is I always see paler, often brown or yellow-tinged, green in quality absinthes, even very fresh, but a different color in cheap versions that also are less interesting flavorwise.  And years ago I made an alcoholic spice macerate from mostly basil leaf, recommended for flavoring soups (from a formula book cited earlier -- Henley's), and it too had the paler, off-green color from the start.  Such a leaf maceration step gives color to traditional absinthes. 

I like that term: "suspiciously cheerful green".

I should have looked for colour addittives (not that it would have stopped us) but we checked for wormwood and left it at that.

I won't disagree. The post went in under the current topic of advertising in regards to absinthe, and this little packet seemed all about advertising. Eye catching green, mysterious eye, an attractive slotted spoon (with a great eye motif), instructions, and sugar all in a tidy plastic pouch. It secured my friend's attention.

Like I said, this didn't do much for me. If I compare this to what we drank in Shanghai it is a pale comparison (in an inverted manner).

:smile:

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I was looking today on the Liqueurs de France website today since the bottle of Jade Edouard I bought almost 3 years ago is nearing depletion, and I noticed that of the Jades they list on the Verte Suisse 65. Does anyone know why this might be? I loved the Edouard so dearly I'm sad at the prospect it may no longer be unavailable.

I've had the Lucid and St. George and found them tasty but perhaps not well-suited for cocktail use (at least in the dash/drop/rinse sense). Are there any imported alternatives with the pungency of the Jades?


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Most of the Jades are temporarily out of production at the moment, and LdF isn't the only distributor that's running out of them. The good news, and the answer to second part of your question, is that I'm pretty sure production on most of the Jade line has slacked off because he's ramping up prodcution of the Jade Nouvelle Orleans, which is now being distributed in the US by Drink Up New York (hope it's okay to put up that link). The Nouvelle has long been a favorite from the line, and I guess it was the first one the distiller chose to get brought into the US. Like the rest of the Jades, Ted Breaux makes this absinthe with his own hands. This is not the case with the Lucid.

Also on the linked page is the Vieux Pontarlier, and also the Leopold, which was the first US-made product to win unanimous approval from classic-absinthe geeks. Both of these would be great choices either to drink for themselves or to add the proper flavor to cocktails. The Leopold can also be found on store shelves in many parts of the country.

In the next month or so, several great options, seen available now for presale on that site (in fact I think the Marteau is available already) will be seeing distribution throughout the US. The Pacifique, for example, threatens to take over the world and hold us all hostage. Good times...


Edited by Wild Bill Turkey (log)

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Wow great news about the Nouvelle Orleans, thanks!

Any intel on when the rest of the line will be available?


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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So what Absinthes are you preferring in cocktails right now? Andy mentions that he doesn't like St. George and Lucid for mixing - any suggestions?

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For cocktails, most traditional style, and reasonably priced, absinthes are perfectly fine.

Of those I've tried, I can easily recommend: Clandestine, Duplais Verte, Kubler, Marteau Absinthe de la Belle Epoque, Obsello Verte, and even Lucid.

Marteau and Clandestine are a bit more expensive, but worth the extra investment IMHO. Plus, when most cocktails call for a dash or two, a bottle does last a good long while.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I have Kubler at home and it's just fine, but after having a few drinks at the Teardrop Lounge made with Marteau, I was floored by the improvement.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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So what Absinthes are you preferring in cocktails right now? Andy mentions that he doesn't like St. George and Lucid for mixing - any suggestions?

I didn't mean to say I don't like them, merely that there are others that are better. Lucid is what I use at work for any application but at home I stick with the Jades, which I value for their increased pungency. The lack of overt pungency in Lucid is actually sort of a plus in the context of my work, since getting people to try new things is often more than enough challenge...subtle Absinthe can help get them to try it in a cocktail. In a drip or Frappe, I like Lucid and St. George just fine, though the more culinary flavors of the St. George make it mix in a somewhat peculiar way.

Haven't gotten the opportunity to try any others yet apart from the 3 verte Jades and the two mentioned above. Trying to ease up on the Absinthe habit a bit lately :wink:


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I have Kubler at home and it's just fine, but after having a few drinks at the Teardrop Lounge made with Marteau, I was floored by the improvement.

Yeah, as a general comment I would advise against using blanche absinthes as cocktail modifiers or bitters. They can be delicious as stand-alone drinks, but blanches lack the full range of flavors available in a verte absinthe, and when a drink recipe calls for a few concentrated drops of absinthe flavor, I think you have to use a verte.

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