This green fairy has a magical touch
It is romantic, poetic, a little bit dangerous. It is also delicious, at least when the absinthe in question is the Taboo from Okanagan Spirits.
From ejellest over on the Wormwood Forums comes a recipe for an absinthe cocktail:Gangadine Cocktail
1 Teaspoonful Framboise Syrup. (raspberry syrup) 1/3 Oxygenie Cusenier. (3/4 oz Absinthe) 1/3 White Mint. (3/4 oz Creme de Menthe) 1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz traditional Dry Gin, say Beefeater's or similar)
We tried it last night and found it interesting. We're not too big on absinthe cocktails, finding it a bit of a waste of good absinthe. It was an adaptation of an older absinthe cocktail which called for "Oxygenie Cusenier" absinthe and the thinking was that, due to the colors of the other ingredients, a Swiss bleu would be desired. So we used the Kubler in it.
The creme de menthe was a little overpowering, but some of us could taste the hints of the absinthe. Perhaps if we used a little less creme de menthe and a stronger bleu, more tastes would come out. But worth a try, we think.
This article, showing up in The Seattle Times, shows some of the good and some of the bad that comes from the mainstream press when talking about absinthe. Yes, we do count ourselves as having "an extraordinary passion for [absinthe].".
I'm not sure how Prof. Fugelsang could possibly say that it isn't "particularly flavorful" and "can be very bitter", unless he's in the habit of drinking nothing but pretend absinthes from the Czech region! And it perpetuates the annoying myth that burning a sugar cube is somehow a "traditional" way of drinking absinthe. And then some playwright swoons over the "theater" of "when you burn something, it just looks illegal.". It is more than that, it is stupid, dangerous and ruins a good absinthe.
But it has a nice segue into absinthe history, and any article that prominently mentions The Wormwood Society can't be all wrong. They do finish up with a reasonable description of making an absinthe, although the proportions (5-7 to 1) are a little too much (we like 3 or 4 to one here). But we don't notice a "sagey smell", but maybe we have tried Lucid enough.
Absinthe: intoxicating mix of legend, liquor - The Seattle Times
The Wormwood Society's excellent page on how to prepare absinthe has just been updated to include a video by user "Meatwaggon". While the look is grainy, it's still a nice video of a Jade PF1901 louche, all set to Chopin's Nocturne in D-flat Major.
A birthday order of absinthe from Liqueurs de France arrived here at In Absinthia, and what a nice gift it was indeed! Two bottles from the Swiss distiller, Matter-Luginbühl and one from Emile Pernot. From Pernot comes Un Emile 68 La Blanche, as you always need a Swiss blanche in every order - I think it may be a law or something... And from Matter-Luginbühl comes Gwydion's recipe, Absinthe Marteau Verte Classique, a Suisse verte, as well as the award-winning Absinthe Duplais , another verte absinthe.
Included in the order were two molded Pontarlier glass, as our previous absinthe glass went the way of many other breakable items here. We usually shy away from anything but a clear glass, no matter what the cocktail is, but these promised to be pretty as well as functional.
Total cost, including shipping by the legendary "flying monkeys" was about US$245. To cut costs a bit, we went with smaller bottles, although given the hefty shipping charge, it is probably a false economy. After the break is a pictorial essay of the grand box opening, which was about a week after ordering it.
We recently had a chance to conduct an email interview with Gwydion Stone, founder of The Wormwood Society, a leading proponent of accurate absinthe information, and administrator (as 'Hiram') of its lively and informative forums. Named one of Imbibe magazine's 15 innovators of the cocktail world in 2007, he recently became involved in his own brand of absinthe, Marteau (look for a review here soon).
InAbsinthia: When did you begin the Wormwood Society?
GS: Our first gathering was four years ago on February 20th, 2004. About a dozen locals got together at the Capitol Club in Seattle to discuss the possibilities for an absinthe special interest group, just to host parties. We had our first Green Hour several weeks later and I went from having tasted two absinthes to seventeen.
InAbsinthia: How many estimated 'active' members of the forums would you say there were?
GS: It's difficult to say because people come and go of course, but we generally have around a hundred fairly active contributors, maybe fifty more who stop in regularly but less often, and a good solid core group of about thirty.
InAbsinthia: What do you see as the future of the Wormwood Society and its web site?
GS: The Wormwood Society is, and I believe always will be, the primary and most user-friendly source of absinthe education in America; and it's the only organization specifically dedicated to that goal. With the current changes in the US, we have a lot to keep up with, and the information is often challenging to get at, but I think the general public needs to be informed about the facts.
The Wormwood Society is more than a passive web site and a discussion forum for enthusiasts; it's a pro-active educational effort. The support team members and myself often go out to other forums and blogs and attempt to clarify the facts, with varying degrees of gratitude and acceptance. I regularly write to journalists and editors and give them facts and copies of recent science papers.
For the future, there are plans in the works for literature to be distributed to industry members—restaurant and bar owners, bar staff, event coordinators and state liquor control boards, as well as distillers and distributors. I'd also like to do live seminars on absinthe service for industry members.
This year we'll host our first annual event, the Grande Soirée d'Absinthe, in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail, which is one of the largest and most well respected cocktail events in the country. The Soirée is being co-produced by the Wormwood Society and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society. Absinthe and New Orleans—it's a no-brainer. I expect this to become our flagship event.
There's also a much-delayed podcast in the works. When I announced last summer that I was producing Marteau in Switzerland and hoped to bring it into the US this year, I didn't realize that I would have an opportunity to actually produce it here. Getting that moving takes up most of my time these days.
Read more beneath the fold...
Absinthe Taste Test Part 1: Lucid - Their review panel opinions of lucid seems to match up pretty well with ours, if maybe even a little harsher (not sure we used "armpit" in our description!). But the end result of "it's going to have to improve its flavor to stay on top" is right in line with our thinking. Of course, it was only "on top" because it was the only one available at the time.
Absinthe Taste Test Part 2: Kubler - while we haven't written up an official review here at InAbsinthia, our feelings very much are, once again, right in line with the epicurious review panel. A very nice, smooth, blanche, we really have enjoyed it, especially at the price.
Absinthe Taste Test Part 3: Mansinthe (Marilyn Manson Absinthe) - the stuff sounds bad, doesn't it? Reminds us of humorist H. Allen Smith's reaction to tasting his first American beer - "Put it back in the horse!"
Absinthe Canada - Order or Buy Absinthe in Canada
One of the first absinthe brands to finally crash the US market is a new one, formulated by one of the leaders of today's absinthe community, T..A. Breaux. Called lucid(sic) Absinthe Supérieure, it is imported by Viridian Spirits and has quite the slick web site. We purchased a bottle at the local liquor store (be still our beating hearts!) for about US$65, not necessarily an impulse buy price to be sure. We have had a couple of sessions with lucid and these are our impressions.
The bottle is pretty striking, although to these conservative eyes, it brings to mind the story of the Mexican beer that first had the bottle designed and then the beer to fill was sought out. It seems to draw too much attention to the overhyped "mystery" of absinthe, but hey, we'll let it go, I guess.
The initial aroma of lucid is rather tame, an indicator of things to come. It certainly smells of anise and other herbs, but in a restrained manner, like it is afraid to scare you away. Pouring it into a glass confirms this shy, retiring mannerism, as the color is equally restrained, being a light pale green. While certainly absinthe, its affect on the eyes and nose belie the aggressive stance hinted at by the bottle.
The louche is good, with the final color being, again, very pale, a white with emerald hints. It does release more of that wonderful absinthe fragrance we've all come to enjoy. Even now, many tasting sessions later, we still get an almost Pavlovian reaction to the redolence of absinthe, even one as quiet as we get from the lucid.
And drinking lucid re-emphasizes the laid back nature of its recipe. Perhaps aiming to not scare off the nearly virgin American palette, lucid is an easy on the tongue, relatively low alcohol (62%) verte absinthe. We have been drinking it with one cube of sugar, but our next glass perhaps should be sans sugar, to give the taste a chance to stand out more. As it is, a pleasant if not particularly outstanding drink.
A ground breaking liquor in its own right, Viridian deserves kudos for creating a good absinthe aimed squarely at the American market. A solid product, creatively marketed, lucid should go a long way towards easing fears of the "devil in a bottle". But I don't think we are being absinthe snobs here at InAbsinthia when we say that it isn't a specially challenging absinthe, with its pretty laid back nature. But that is, we believe, its destiny and, as such, it does a good job. We will have to try it without the sugar to get more of its taste, but I don't think it will be leaping to the fore of our liquor shelf.
The author is Paul Clarke, whose Cocktail Chronicles blog is a regular stop of all imbibers. The article has been getting good reviews on the Wormwood Society forums, and not just because they are prominently mentioned inside! Perhaps there is still hope for truly fair and balanced coverage of our controversial green fairy.
Imbibe | The Ultimate Drinks Magazine
Be sure to check out their blog as well:
La légende de l'Absinthe by Aleister Crowley Apollo, mourning the demise of Hyacinth, Would not cede vicotry to death. His sould, adept of transformation, Had to find a holy alchemy for beauty. So from his celestial hand he exhausts and crushes The subtlest gifts from divine Flora. Their borken bodies sigh a golden exhalation From which he harvest our first drop of - Absinthe! In crouching cellars, in sparkling palaces, Alone or together, drink that potion of loving! For it is a sorcery, a conjuration, This pale opal wine aborts misery. Opens the intimate sanctuary of beauty - Bewitches my heart, exalts my soul in ectasyAleister Crowley (1875-1947) was a bon-vivant of the highest degree. His experimentations with the occult, sexual peccadilloes, and general scandalous behavior made the gossip pages of the time with some regularity. He was so (in)famous, he was given the moniker of "the wickedest man in the world", while Somerset Maugham described him as "a fake, but not entirely a fake". So of course, he was an absintheur as well!
Absinthe - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia
Absinthe is distilled from bits of wood, worms, green crayons, 11 secret herbs and spices according to a secret lesbian recipe.
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