While there’s no canonical description, Absinthe is a high-proof spirit flavored with anise and similar botanicals, the most notable of which are the leaves of Artemisia absinthium, aka grand wormwood. Most anise is green in color, which gave rise to the iconic “green fairy,” which is said to be seen when one consumes the spirit. A psychoactive chemical known as thujone is present in wormwood, and this gave absinthe an awful reputation in the early 1900s, when a handful of drinkers went on criminal sprees (some murderous). By 1915 it was widely outlawed. By the late 1990s a better understanding of thujone (which is present in modern absinthe in only trace amounts) led to these bans being relaxed. In 2007, absinthe was once again legalized in the U.S., opening the door for a rush of hundreds of new brands. Absinthe is properly served by placing the spirit in a glass, then pouring cold water slowly over a sugar cube placed over the glass on a specific type of spoon. Prepared absinthe “louches” by turning a milky white color.
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For those requiring a brief overview: Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur usually served as an aperitif and served with cold water. Pastis Henri Bardouin arrives from Distilleries et Domaines de Provence and features a secret proprietary blend of 65 herbs and spices. It is not an absinthe but could be considered close kin. The label…Read More
Absinthia — formally known as Absinthia’s Bottled Spirits — is a woman-owned absinthe producer based in Oakland, California (though the product is produced in Fresno). What else could the owner, with a name like J. Absinthia Vermut, produce but an American take on the green fairy? Absinthia uses vintage Swiss recipes, natural ingredients, and no…Read More
In addition to American whiskey and bourbon (one of which we just reviewed here), Indiana’s Spirits of French Lick also focuses on brandy and botanical spirits, including Indiana’s first commercial absinthe and a unique Calvados-style apple brandy. We received samples of each for review. Thoughts follow. Spirits of French Lick Absinthe Le Bleu (2021) –…Read More
If you think of Absente as the entry-level product from France’s Distilleries et Domaines de Provence, you can consider Grande Absente its top-shelf offering. The primary difference? Grande Absente is bottled at a considerably higher 69% abv than the 55% abv Absente — though, it’s important to note, it still contains artificial colors to give…Read More
One of the most venerable absinthe brands on the market, the French-produced Absente dates back to 1999 — well before the 2007 re-legalization of genuine wormwood in the U.S. As such, Absente was originally made with something called southernwood (plus sugar), which purists rejected as a true absinthe. In 2009, Absente was reformulated to include…Read More
Tenth Ward Distilling can be found in downtown Frederick, Maryland, where it produces a dazzling array of craft spirits, ranging from honeyjack (distilled mead) to Maryland’s only absinthe. Today we look at a pair of releases from Tenth Ward, the aforementioned absinthe and a genever. Tenth Ward Absinthe Nouvelle – “Distilled [from a base of…Read More
National Absinthe Day is, whoa, today! March 5. While absinthe may not be the It Spirit it was a few years ago, it’s finding plenty of action as a cocktail ingredient. Here are a number of absinthe-centric recipes to check out. Some are on the new side, while others are closer to classics. Sour Cherry…Read More
If I wanted to be perfect on style and grammar, I’d call this post “Spirits of Spirits of French Lick.” You see, the distillery is called Spirits of French Lick, not French Lick, which makes me realize that I’ve now typed French lick four times. Five. Spirits of French Lick can be found in West Baden…Read More
So you’ve mastered mixing the manhattan, the old fashioned is old news, and you can recite the difference between a gin martini and a vodka martini in your sleep. And yet, that classic cocktail itch is still there. Well read on, because today we’re going to explore another simple, early cocktail, one that isn’t as…Read More
It was hot in the Seventy7 Lounge in Culver City that day. Maybe it was the blazing sun outside or the close quarters inside, filled with contestents and onlookers. Maybe it was the absinthe. Maybe it was the goat. I can’t say for sure. It’s been a few weeks since we — Drinkhacker and Hood…Read More