Friday, July 08, 2011

BTW: She Said Yes!

I'd been holding onto a sample of 1914 Pernod Fils (from Oxygénée) for a few years, waiting for a special occasion, and last October finally had an event worth such a momentous drink: I asked Liz to marry me :)

It tasted as wonderful as we'd expected! There was no question that we'd dilute it with a slow drip to enjoy the louche. The far glass is antique (1860s?), purchased at Lucullus in 2001.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The New York Times Rates Absinthes

Today's New York Times article rating absinthes manages to break through the hype and bad rep and actually do a tasting. While not completely moronic like The Wall Street Journal's attempt published Saturday (seriously? Mata Hari?!), they omit a few-- both good and bad-- and I generally disagree with their ratings. Still, it's good to see people trying to take it seriously.

La Clandestine, Nouvelle-Orléans, and Emile Pernot (should be listed as Vieux Pontarlier) should be at the top. Surprising that they chose not to rate four American-made absinthes (though they may have tasted them, and they did rate St. George)-- Vieux Carré, Absinthe Marteau, and Absinthe Pacifique are delicious and authentic, and while I have only tried an early batch of Leopold Brothers, which I didn't care for, I hear newer batches are much improved.

Update: I forgot to mention two other American-made absinthes (of which I have no opinion-- I've tasted neither) by Delaware Phoenix. All of the American-made absinthes are available at DrinkUpNY.com-- a vendor that has satisfied the itch very nicely lately...:)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Old Absinthe House-- WTF?!

Pas de feu!!OF ALL PLACES, the Old Absinthe House (no link deserved) should know better than to perform the "fire ritual." It's as bad as going to the Pilsner Urquell brewerey and having them insist on you doing a beer bong, or maybe ordering a Chateau Lafite Rothschild at Taillevent and having it served in a pimp cup mixed with Orangina. It seems all I can do is be that asshole who points out that people are doing it wrong. I wonder what's worse-- being converted to a daiquiri bar or submitting to the crapsinthe sham?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Radio Maria: Cut It Out!

Spotted this flaming absinthe shot shot on Flickr, taken at Radio Maria in Champagne, Illinois. There seem to be fewer new photos getting tagged with "absinthe" on Flickr than a few months ago; curious if the economic meltdown has made people hesitate when considering a $12 drink or >$60 bottle of booze.

And while the lab hardware fountain looks nice, the reservoirs are too small to properly water even a single drink.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You're DOING IT WRONG!! FIRE + Absinthe = WRONG!!!


I've been a slack blogger lately-- what to say, now that absinthe is legal?!

Well, one thing for sure: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!! I subscribe to a Flickr feed of all absinthe-tagged photos, and it seems like the "fire ritual" is the way most people are getting absinthe served to them. GAH!!!

It's as if beer was suddenly back after a long hiatus, and people forgot how to drink it, so everybody's drinking it out of a funnel because they just don't know any better. [sigh]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jade N-O and Clandestine on the Way

Viridian Spirits, of Lucid fame, have announced that they are bringing T.A. Breaux's Jade Nouvelle-Orléans and Claude-Alain Bugnon's La Clandestine to the U.S.!

Prices of $110 and $80 seem fair (given current exchange rates, [grumble grumble]) for two of the finest absinthes available-- Nouvelle-Orléans is my favorite Jade, and La Clandestine is a much fresher and more complex Swiss blanche than Kubler.
(via)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happiness...


We received an order from Liqueurs de France a few days ago-- mostly for me, a few bottles for friends. I hesitated ordering and Gaudentia Persoz' La P'tite sold out! Too bad, but that means there'll be another big order in the fall when there's (hopefully) more Belle Amie as well...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

PAS DE FEU!

Seriously-- do NOT burn absinthe! And tell everybody!!! It's a waste of good alcohol, plus it means that the terrorists have won! Save your flaming booze for Sambuca, Bananas Foster, and burning your face off...

Posted because Unkle Paul announced a party in August-- the FIRST thing I saw when I attended one of his events was absinthe on fire. The corset-wearing pierced and tattooed bartender sincerely related how the fire makes the absinthe louche. GAH!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Science!!

Top absinthe experts have finally put their money and lab equipment (and vintage absinthe) where their mouths are, publishing a paper to back up what they've been saying for years: that absinthe didn't (and doesn't) have very much thujone in it, far less than the badly estimated 260mg/l figure that so many idiots people still cling to.

More opinions to come, but I didn't want to post before reading the study in its entirety. The paper is convincing as far as its results are concerned, though I worry it may only stoke the fires of conspiracy theorists and other internet douchebags.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

U.S. TTB Absinthe Label Approvals

OxygeneeOxy psoted a great link to a Lehrman Beverage Law PLCC page listing details on U.S.-legal absinthe, including a listing of TTB-approved absinthe labels-- might have to stop rooting for everybody if there are going to be this many entrants to the market-- surely many distillers will file papers and turn a few batches just to grab some cash after all the press about St. George...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chicago Area Absinthe Sirène

Chicagoist reports that North Shore Distillery owners Derek and Sonja Kassebaum brought an assortment of spirits to Malt Advocate magazine's WhiskyFest, including two absinthes "Sirène"-- a white and a green-- and that they expect to have a product available to the public very soon.

With St. George from California and the upcoming Marteau Classic on the way made by House Spirits in Oregon, that's three from the U.S.-- four from North America if we count Okanagan Spirits in BC! Who ever would have guessed...?!

Please poke around the Absinthe Map to see who else is making it and where you can be served, and please email me or comment if you find more distilleries, bars, or specialty shops-- I'm rooting for everybody!
(via the Fée Verte Forums)

Update: Right after posting, I poked around the Wormwood Society Forums and read that there's yet another American distillery trying its hand at absinthe-- the Portland Tribune reports that Integrity Spirit also from Portland, Oregon is awating approval of their "Trillium" absinthe.

Friday, March 28, 2008

SF World Spirits Competition: results?

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was held on March 15 and 16, and while the results have been released to entrants, I'm curious to see the complete list after yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle blurb mentioned that ten absinthes competed, and the winner-- "Vieux Pontarlier," distilled at the Emile Pernot distillery-- is not even on the market yet. Searches for "vieux pontarlier absinthe" find an anisette produced by Emile Pernot, with a note at Liqueurs de France that the product currently available is not the absinthe which will soon be released under the same name.

Update: Results were posted by the organizers, though to see award winners for absinthe, you must click through a finicky menu-- results reposted here (click on the image to the right) for easy viewing. Surprised to see La Fée winning a gold-- that's some lousy absinthe-- looks like the kind of competition where everybody wins.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vintage Absinthe Paraphernalia

If you know where to look [cough, cough], you may be able to score some fine antiques from time to time! Besides absinthe's fascinating history, these are simply some of the most attractive and functional antiques you could find...

I'm waiting to hear back on the 5-dose topette, but I saw the posts late and fear the worst...

Update: The topette is mine! I've read that topettes were used at cafés to let absinthe drinkers enjoy as much or as little as they felt like drinking, paying when they left based on how much absinthe remained in the topette. I should refer to this as a "5 doses topette," for authenticity...

Friday, March 21, 2008

San Francisco Front Page News

My Inbox has been blowing up-- everybody's sending me links to the absinthe article in today's San Francisco Chronicle-- it made the front page of the online edition (need to get a paper paper). With expected local nods to to Lance Winters of St. George Spirits and Absinthe (the restaurant), the article dares to ask, "will consumers continue to lap it up?"

The author Stacey Finz gets some good answers-- the hype will (and should) subside, and we'll be left with... well, pricey absinthe on liquor store shelves (hooray!) and lots of people knowing they don't like real absinthe (as opposed to not liking Czech "absinth"/"absynth"). Best of all, everybody benefits from its presence behind the bar since it opens the door to so many savory old school cocktails-- you can finally get a decent sazerac... [phew!]

I'm hoping this means more-- that it marks the start of a microdistillery revolution the same way microbreweries suddenly appeared 20 years ago and transformed millions of beer drinkers' palates. Imagine choosing between locally-produced spirits-- gins, vodkas, whisk(e)ys, even absinthes-- when you belly up to your local bar? We're there already in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it seems people everywhere are seeking (and paying more for) local, lovingly crafted products-- absinthe is coming back now because people are ready for it. In marketing terms, remember that even though most people say they hate it, many many bars serve lots and lots of Jagermeister: there's room for a few bottles of absinthe behind American bars.

btw the wording of the article's "Absinthe facts, myths and urban legends" section seemed backwards to me at first since the statements are all myths and urban legends. In the end, though, the article gets the facts straight, nailing the worst myths of all: thujone, shots, and fire [shudder].

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Glasses Everywhere...

Poking around the Clement St. Goodwill for gadgets (Popeil, anyone?), I scored a mint condition Moulinex 445 "Mouli-Julienne"-- I expected junk dreamed of sweet scores like that-- but was shocked to find a brand new San Miguel cordon absinthe glass, different from the San Miguel glasses at Liqueurs de France.

After cleaning it, I watered up the fountain and set a drip going over a sugar cube, taking shots as it louched, shown here with a clear swirly drip on the right, a clear top layer still holding on the left... delicious...

Santé!

Update: Need to check with those-in-the-know about this glass-- curious if it was made for absinthe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ikea absinthe glasses?

"Pokal" wine glasses caught my eye the other day and I grabbed a box-- good shape and size (7oz) for absinthe, right diameter for a spoon. Cheaper to buy these than to rent glasses for the party...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Getting Your Louche On

With so many people trying out absinthe for the first time, accessories for the ritual are in high demand. Even Hammacher Schlemmer is offering a nice kit, though you could assemble it for less from the specialty vendors.

The key, really, is having a comfortable setup so you can add as much or as little cold water and sugar as you would like-- folks aren't missing anything if all they have is a small glass and a little ice water. But paraphernalia and rituals are fun...

Absinthe glasses:

Absinthe spoons and substitutes (only if you're adding sugar): Absinthe fountains:
  • The Lucid store has the best prices I've ever seen for 2- and 4-spigot Frenchman fountains-- $135 and $185
    Update 3/28/08: Heard on a forum that the fountains are out of stock, but they expect a shipment soon of non-Frenchman reproduction fountans,
  • La Maison d'Absinthe has six fountains starting at $185,
    Update 3/25/08: They now stock a 2-spigot fountain for only $48-- might have to get one of those... though Spoon got one and says it's a little chintzy,
  • Frenchman fountains are also available from AbsintheSpoon.com,
  • Absinthe Suisse has a few glass fountains from ~$65, one also available from Absinthe.de for a bit more.
Makeshift absinthe fountains and supplies:
  • (But... do you really need a fountain?! A carafe works great and is as "authentic" as using a fountain...:)
  • Vodka infuser jars with spigots go for ~$50 or so and work great if your glasses are short enough or if you put it on a taller pedestal, plus you can have a glass shop drill holes for more spigots,
  • Spigots from aftosa from ~$7.50,
  • Spigots from InfusedVodka.com from $7,
  • The infamous Lowe's Mouthwash Dispenser on a little pedestal-- $25,
  • Make your own dripper with whatever's on hand-- I made a little MacGyver dripper ("green beret" survival skill...:) for kicks once with two yogurt cups and a length of wire,
  • And if you're really desperate and want to drip, you can always use a sink, but you'll need some ice in the glass to keep it cool.
Now go drink up!

Update: I'll keep this post around and add to it when I find more vendors and prices change. PLEASE leave a comment if you hear of any new products or vendors!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

St. George: Second Release of Absinthe Verte

St. George SpiritsMade it to St. George Spirits this morning with Spoon to pick up some of the second batch of Absinthe Verte. We arrived at around 11:30 and the line had tripled by noon, but it still took an hour to get in while the folks ahead made their buys and left-- few stayed to taste. Thankfully the rain came and went quickly!

After buying a few bottles (three max), I got a taste and was surprised by how much I liked it-- more balanced than the first run, a more prominent wormwood flavor, less anise and meadowsweet. Great to meet "Brit Geek Girl" and a few of her dedicated drinking buddies. Unfortunately, Lance Winters was nowhere to be found-- had hoped to have him sign the bottles and pose for a shot... which explains why he wasn't around...:)

Asking about the taste differences between the two batches, a few folks told me the wormwood was more mature for this batch-- that it had big flowers-- but was otherwise the same formula. With twice as much made as last time, they said they were just trying to satisfy demand before changing anything.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Seriously-- Don't Burn It!


(link)

(link)
It can't be said enough-- burning absinthe is not a good idea. Probably 151 or everclear in these clips, but any booze over 100 proof should burn freely, so don't be like these guys. Thanks to SP for the clips. Here's two more: 1, 2

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Here's hoping everybody's having a great day with friends, family, good eats, and a glass of the good stuff, whatever that might be for you!

I've enjoyed a few absinthes with JS, starting with the St. George, then comparing to Edouard, Duplais Balance, a few others. St. George stands out in a crowd-- pronounced aftertastes are new to us, must be stinging nettles and/or meadowsweet. You would pick it first in a blind tasting lineup-- there's nothing like it. It benefitted from a cube of sugar after trying them all at 2:1, then watered to 3:1 or so. We kept coming back to "medicinal" and "greens" for flavor cues-- sort of vegetal, tea-like.

Thrilling that an American absinthe is as unique as this, appropriate that it comes from the Bay Area-- first had stinging nettles at the Chez Panisse Café-- it's one of the original gourmet ghetto ingredients-- chuckled when I first saw it listed on St. George's label!

For a little holiday cheer, try coming up with a new absinthe cliché/pun with this handy form:

Or, make your own:
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If you come up with a good one, please leave it in the comments!

Update 11:30 PM: also a little Kübler, Lucid, Nouvelle Orleans, Marteau,...