The articles are coming out fast and furious, now that restrictions on absinthe seem to be loosening (at least until the next mass murder laid at absinthe's doorstep). Here's another article on absinthe, with a nice introduction to St. George Spirits, this time from The New York Times. We loved this quote from the article:
"I had the image of a spider monkey beating on a skull with femur bones," Mr. Winters said. But he said that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau thought the label "implied that there are hallucinogenic, mind-altering or psychotropic qualities" to the product.
"I said, You get all that just from looking at a monkey?"
So the rules are still quite murky and subject to whim, but at least they seems to be relaxing. The author of the piece is Yet Another Person who associates absinthe with the horrid concoctions that are "Czech-sinthes":
And I was astonished by how delicate, gentle and refreshing they were. Astonished in part because of my earlier run-ins with absinthe. There was the Portuguese stuff that looked like radiator fluid and tasted like a mouthful of copper. There was the Czech product that a friend smuggled past customs in a mouthwash bottle. I would have preferred the mouthwash.
We here at inAbsinthia have't yet put our tastebuds on the line for you to try any of these, but we suppose we really must at some point. But before we do that, we'd love to get our sweaty palms on a bottle of St. George Absinthe Verte.A Liquor of Legend Makes a Comeback
This is a very nice story on the distillation of the product. The writer even interviews Barnaby Conrad, the author of one of the better absinthe books, "History in a Bottle". There's the usual discussion of absinthe's checkered past, albeit in a very objective fashion. It also mentions the bizarre restrictions on the label:
the word absinthe on the bottle's label had to be small and used with a qualifier like St. George's Verte or Kubler's Swiss Absinthe Superieure.
Alameda distiller helps make absinthe legitimate again
traditionalists would cringe - why obscure the flavor of good absinthe with burned sugar? - but it does make for a nice piece of theater.
It then goes on with a reasonable thumbnail of absinthe history, even minimizing the lurid details. A description of the two absinthes available on US shelves (Lucid and Kubler) follows, including the interesting fact that the big hold up was the word 'absinthe' until earlier this year when the petty bureaucrats in charge of it mysteriously relent, allowing them to use the word in small type! Whereupon the big argument was font size and placement - oh jeez.
The author then tries Lucid (look for a review here soon) and finds it much more agreeable than his previous attempts with ghastly Czech-zinthe. T.A. Breaux, Lucid's creator, is, of course, quoted, downplaying thujone. And then he goes on to try the Kubler, which is a blanche, and finds it less complex than the Lucid.
All in all, a pretty good mainstream article on the available absinthes.Green light - The Boston Globe
Green light Absinthe, illicit and alluring, is now available in Boston
This is where you wish you had been - in Pontarlier at the 2006 Absinthiades. We wish we were there too. There still might be time to arrange a trip to the 2007 ones!
Note: Thanks to a note from Alan, we've been corrected and while the photos are from the 2006 Absinthiades, the link is for the June Fête de l'Absinthe à Boveresse, a completely different event. Okay, we'll sign up for both!Flickr: Louisa Chu's photos tagged with pontarlier
Thanks to Salsa's Absinthe Blargh for the Flickr link.
The 5th Tales of the Cocktail conference in coming up in New Olreans. This year, it is from July 18-22 and promises to be another fun-filled, bar-hopping, cocktail-drinking, good time. See New Orleans and hear talks by legends in the drink-mixing game like David Wondrich, Ted Haigh ("Dr. Cocktail") and Jennifer English. Get your tickets early for Ted Breaux's absinthe talk, as it sold out quickly last year.
Tales of the Cocktail 2007
Lion Absinthe Distribution announces Helfrich Verte, the first genuine absinthe to be manufactured in The Netherlands. Helfrich says:
The rich scent, full taste and spring green color can be carried back to the use of carefully selected herbs. These herbs have first been macerated in a high quality base alcohol such as has been applied in the Dutch liquor tradition for centuries. The macerate is being distilled, so that unpleasantly bitter and harsh compounds remain in the still while the desired aroma's find their way into the distillate of Helfrich absinthe.Absinthvertrieb Lion - Helfrich Verte
Some news on the La Clandestine front. Claude-Alain Bugnon, Swiss absinthe maker, has his own website where you can buy his La Clandestine line and other fine Swiss La Bleu-style absinthes. Absinthe-Suisse.com has announce a sale, a competition and web site news:
- Anniversary Sale : you can get a great price on a three pack of La Clandestine Originale, at only US$225 including shipping. This is to celebrate the recipe's 75th anniversary. And you can add a fourth bottle, including a version of La Clandestine Originale made with a wine base. We can also highly recommend the TA Breaux's La Blanchette.
- Birthday Photo Competition : To celebrate its second official birthday, La Clandestine is offering a nice set of gift certificates as prizes for a photo competition. Send in pictures of La Clandestine absinthes in action, and win absinthe - how can you go wrong with that?
- Reviews : You can now add customer reviews to each of the absinthe-suisse varieties, as you can see here. Log in and tell the world about these fine La Bleus.