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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Absinthe... discuss.
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Absinthe... discuss.
bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-10-31 10:28 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-05-02 07:41, captnkirk wrote:
Barnaby Conrad is the author of a book called Absinthe:History in a bottle.
It is a nice read full of lots of stories about famous drunks and nice photos.
It is not a source for facts about absinthe (outside of historical ones).

It is a nice coffee table book or addition to any library of booze related books.



Barnaby Conrad's book is the Book of Tiki of Absinth. Before it was published, Absinthe lingered in relative obscurity. The first years after its publication, the only Absinth available was Czech Hill's, which became a big hit in Britain, because no real comparison existed.


 
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Mr. Moto
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Joined: Mar 08, 2010
Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-01 06:04 am   Permalink

Conrad's book is a fun read, but it's woefully out of date (hard to believe it was published 13 years ago!). For a more up-to-date reference, I'd recommend the recently published book, A Taste for Absinthe, by Guthrie and Thompson. It's nominally a book of classic and modern cocktail recipes that use absinthe, but it's also quite a nice introduction to the spirit, with little of the usual misinformation and myth-mongering (absinthe is a drug, causes hallucinations, etc) one often finds in books on absinthe.

I'd also recommend that anyone interested in learning more about absinthe check out the Wormwood Society, which is the premiere website for absinthe information, product reviews, and more.

Finally, I'd point out that in the past 2-3 years, a number of genuine, high-quality American absinthes have entered the market, including Pacifique, Delaware Phoenix Walton Waters, Delaware Phoenix Meadow of Love, Marteau Absinthe de la Belle Epoque, Vieux Carre, Leopold Brothers, and Ridge Verte and Blanche. All of these are the equal of anything coming out of Europe today; most can be found through online retailers like Drink Up New York. Best of all, most work fabulously well in tiki drinks!

Whatever you do, take Torch Guy's advice and avoid Eastern European "absinth" like the plague. Not only is it outrageously expensive, most of it is vile dreck that's not even properly distilled--it's horribly bitter, artificially colored, and doesn't louche. Guaranteed to ruin your Zombie or Jet Pilot. A good rule of thumb to follow: if the brand you're considering hypes its "high thujone content," run in the other direction.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-01 07:55 am   Permalink

I agree about EASTERN European absinthe being of minor quality. But in Western Europe, you can find some nice brands. There are specialty Absinth stores in Berlin and Paris, and Barcelona has an old Absinthe Bar where they make their own stuff that is amazing to visit.

Out of date as it may be, Conrad's book is a feast of vintage imagery for the visually inclined consumer, and it was this vintage eye candy quality that helped to rekindle the romance with Absinthe here and abroad.


 
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Mr. Moto
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Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-01 10:58 am   Permalink

Yes, of course--I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. Western Europe (specifically the Val-de-Travers region in Switzerland) is the birthplace of absinthe and some of the best brands available today are distilled there, including Ted Breaux's Jade absinthes, the Duplais absinthes, the Emile Pernot absinthes, etc. Entirely different than the Eastern European (mostly Czech) swill I was trying to warn people away from. My only point was that one no longer has to order overseas to obtain good absinthe; it's available right here in the US.

It wasn't my intention to steer anyone away from the Conrad book, either; like I said, it's a good read. Just wanted to make clear that it's a bit outdated now and there are other more recent book on absinthe out there that would make good supplemental reading material.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-01 11:57 am   Permalink

Thanks. Maybe I should have put a "throwing up" smiley icon behind my mention of Hill's, to make clearer that I thought it was funny that the Brits were all swooning over that green cough syrup in lieu of other, truer alternatives. The lure of the "Forbidden" was clouding their taste buds.



 
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KeithH
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Joined: Feb 15, 2009
Posts: 110
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2010-11-01 1:20 pm   Permalink

My first experience with Absine was the very nasty Sebor that some friends brought in (before it was legal to sell here in the USA) for a party. They loved the "flaming sugar" trick.

Earilier this year I took a class from Gwydion Stone, the distiller of Marteau and one of the founders for the Wormwood Society. I just wanted to have a better understanding of what I was drinking (in general). The class was very informative and provided a lot of information on absinthe.

Absinthe got a bad rep for no good reason. It won't make you go crazy or hallucinate more than any other alcoholic beverage will if you drink enough. And if you enjoy a little black licorice, you will likely enjoy a glass of good absinthe and it works so nicely as an accent for so many great cocktails.


 
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CincyTikiCraig
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Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 368
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2010-11-01 8:38 pm   Permalink

What are some opinions on using genuine Absinthe vs Pastis (Herbsaint, Ricard etc)in Tiki cocktails these days? I'm thinking specifically of the many Don The Beachcomber recipes that call for the use of these spirits.

 
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Mr. Moto
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Joined: Mar 08, 2010
Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-02 05:43 am   Permalink

Absinthe works very well in tiki drinks that call for pastis, IMO--though it does tend to have a bigger impact on the overall taste of those drinks, even the ones that call for a relatively small amount of it. Also, different brands of absinthe have different flavor profiles--spicy, floral, fruity, minty--and I've found that some work better than others in tropical drinks. I'm partial to Vieux Carre, Leopold Brothers, Duplais Verte, and Marteau just to name a few. On the other hand, I've also become very fond of using the new 100-proof Herbsaint Original in my tiki drinks; it's made according to the original 1930s formula for Herbsaint and is fantastic in Zombies, Jet Pilots, Dr. Funks, etc.

 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-02 09:30 am   Permalink

That is very pertinent information, Mr Moto, thank you!

On the subject of non-tropical Absinthe cocktails: JUST in case you find yourself in Paris anytime soon, Ex-pat Mixologist David West will begin pouring some interesting ones at LE FLOREAL, at the corner of Faubourg du Temple and rue Parmentiér 152, Wednesday thru Saturday


 
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CincyTikiCraig
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Joined: Mar 31, 2009
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From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2010-11-02 6:50 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-11-02 05:43, Mr. Moto wrote:
Absinthe works very well in tiki drinks that call for pastis, IMO--though it does tend to have a bigger impact on the overall taste of those drinks, even the ones that call for a relatively small amount of it. Also, different brands of absinthe have different flavor profiles--spicy, floral, fruity, minty--and I've found that some work better than others in tropical drinks. I'm partial to Vieux Carre, Leopold Brothers, Duplais Verte, and Marteau just to name a few. On the other hand, I've also become very fond of using the new 100-proof Herbsaint Original in my tiki drinks; it's made according to the original 1930s formula for Herbsaint and is fantastic in Zombies, Jet Pilots, Dr. Funks, etc.



I've read great things about the new Herbsaint Legendre (original recipe), but it hasn't made it's way here to either Ohio or Kentucky yet, so I've not had a chance to tried it.


 
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Mr. Moto
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Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-03 10:17 am   Permalink

It's readily available online at DrinkUpNY:

http://www.drinkupny.com/Legendre_Herbsaint_Original_p/s0080.htm

They ship all over. You could pick up some absinthe while you're there too! I'm sure other online retailers carry it as well.


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VampiressRN
  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5795
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2010-11-05 1:20 pm   Permalink

My local store has [La Clandestine Absinthe Superieure 750ml]. Wikipedia indicates La Clandestine Absinthe is a Swiss La Bleue, or clear, absinthe brand produced by Artemisia-Bugnon distilleries. It is an anise-flavored, distilled liquor containing the herb wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), and when prepared with cold water will louche.


Sorry for my stupidity (I've read this thread though & ordered a couple of books), but wonder if this would be a decent Absinthe?



 
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Mr. Moto
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Joined: Mar 08, 2010
Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-05 6:40 pm   Permalink

Clandestine is an excellent Swiss "la bleue" style absinthe--probably the best currently available on the US market.

Note, however, that it is a blanche or clear absinthe, not a verte or green one. This doesn't mean that it's any less authentic (the blanche style became popular after the ban on absinthe took effect and many Swiss distillers resorted to making absinthe illegally; they made a clear absinthe to fool the authorities into thinking it wasn't the banned spirit). It does mean, however, that it has a slightly different flavor profile than the traditional verte absinthe, which undergoes an extra coloring step (that also imparts additional flavors) after distillation.

Just don't want you to expect the Clandestine to be green. It is very, very tasty though.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11238
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2010-11-06 12:22 pm   Permalink

I think this fascinating thread suffers a little from a lack of visuals, so I wanted to share my experience of going to an art opening at Wacko's La Luz Gallery last night, where they served Absinthe. Both artists' work ( Jessica Joslin and Laurie Lipton) perfectly complements the Absinthe esthetic. Joslin's animal sculptures are the most amazing constructions of vintage hardware and articulated animal bones,





and Liptons poster size pencil drawings are aptly grouped under the title "Machine Punk":





The bar in the back courtyard was an ingenious steam punk affair with an ice water dispenser and a gas torch to light the sugar cubes:



They were serving three brands of Absinthe, I liked number 2 and 3 (St. George):



Mr Moto, being the authority on La Fee Verte here, what is your opinion/experience of these three brands?

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2010-11-06 13:11 ]


 
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Mr. Moto
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Joined: Mar 08, 2010
Posts: 41
Posted: 2010-11-06 8:35 pm   Permalink

Nice photos! Looks like a cool exhibit. Unfortunately, I can't say much for the choice of absinthe. None are terrible, but neither are they very good, IMHO. Mata Hari has a very thin louche and an odd cinnamon flavor--very little anise taste. Grande Absente is an anise bomb--very sweet (it's artificially colored and sweetened) and heavy on the star anise; probably the most "traditional" tasting of the three, though without nuance and far too saccharine. St. George is very peculiar indeed; the recipe includes basil, tarragon, and nettles. Lots of lemon balm and star anise as well. Of the three, I'd say it's the "best" (as in the highest quality, in terms of its herbs and method of production), although I find it difficult to drink. Very thick, murky louche. It has its fans, though, which is more than I can say about the other two.

Sorry I can't be more positive. What else is available where you live?


 
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