We had an impromptu tasting of American-made absinthes the other night. Who would have thought just a couple of years ago that we could say actually say that? And not sure absinthe available here in the States, but honest-to-goodness verte absinthe made in the goold ol' US of A?
The tasting was possible because a good friend (and a real good friend!) from Chicago brought us a bottle of Sirčne from the North Shore Distillery, a local gin and vodka maker who has started making absinthe. It's a very distinctive bottle and must have just skirted the very particular senses of theTTB.
The aroma was very distinctive and very promising. A heady mix of scents really came on nicely after we opened up the sleek bottle. The green color was a little pale, but still quite appealing in the glass. As has become our custom, the first drink was sans sugar. We also tried not to put too much water in it, as it has a relatively low alcohol at "only" 60%.
The louche however was quite disappointing. Only a slight cloudiness followed and it never really got that thick. Even at its fullest point, the glass was still not completely a nice opaque opaline. And drinking was also a little disappointing, as the heady aroma did not really lead up to a real outstanding taste. It was a solid yet uninspiring taste. Nothing really stood out and there was no special tingle on the tongue either. A good, not great, absinthe.
We next tried St. George Absinthe Verte, which has been around since the wine trip to California last summer. We have had it a couple of times and it has really begun to grow on us. The color in the bottle is a little strange, sort of a greenish tinged gold, but it louches up very nicely. Again, a little on the low side on alcohol at 60%, so we keep it pretty strong and have been sticking to no sugar with it as well. There's a real nice tingle on the tongue and the varied tastes hinted at by the unusual color are carried through. It's a very nice absinthe and one we pull out often these days.
So the St. George remains our favorite native absinthe, although we have some hopes for Sirčne, as its initial impressions are very much like we remember ours for St. George. It is certainly good enough for us to continue to experiment with its recipe! DrinkUpNY.com has two more we haven't tried yet - Leopold Bros. Absinthe Verte (made in Colorado) and Gwydion Stone's very own Marteau Absinthe de la Belle Epoque, from House Spirits Distillery in Portland Oregon. Also coming up in the near future is Vieux Carre from Philadelphia.