Tuesday, December 25, 2007


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:
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,...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

St. George: Early Arrival!

I leave San Francisco later tonight and figured I'd try the St. George absinthe when I get back in a few days, but DM just called to say he picked up my bottle from D&M Liquors-- I'm off to the Mission to pick it up!!! First louche picture to come ASAP...

Update 10:00PM: Got the bottle but I need to head to OAK in a few minutes...:( No time to louche it up, but I'll be following reports of the release event and tastings over the next few days, and I'll be back in SF by Christmas Eve for my first taste with a few friends. Couldn't resist shooting the label since it's not the 21st yet.

Drink Your Booze, Burn Your Fuel

Not the other way around!

With so many people finding absinthe available in the U.S., it's important that newcomers understand that the Czech fire show done with inferior absinthes may be fun when you're on vacation in Prague, but it is a party trick akin to beer bongs, keg stands, body shots, cement mixers, and its original inspiration in the 1990's: flaming Sambuca shots. Those games don't relate at all to how you would normally drink beer or spirits.

Thankfully, real absinthe distributors are taking the opportunity to explain the proper way to drink absinthe-- diluted or mixed in a cocktail. Ordering Kübler last night at Dalva, I asked "You don't burn it, do you?" and the bartender replied, "No, this isn't Czech garbage." Right answer!

So why not burn absinthe?

  • In its heyday, people drank their absinthe diluted with water-- they did not burn it-- no matter what the Czech producers may try to tell you,
  • It's DANGEROUS (see photo, via Static),
  • It is a waste of alcohol,
  • It does not encourage the absinthe to louche-- any cloudiness the caramelized sugar adds to the drink is not a louche effect at all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good Absinthe Info for the Public

Following its article yesterday about St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte, the San Francisco Chronicle posted an "All About Absinthe" Q+A section and an AP Interactive graphic with a voice-over by Ted Breaux. I don't dig the skull motif, but they didn't ask me.

As always, many questions and answers can be found at the two premier absinthe FAQ's online, at La Fée Verte and The Wormwood Society.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

St. George Spirits "Absinthe Verte"!

I'd heard rumors and now the word is out-- St. George Spirits of Alameda got final approval last Wednesday for their label and will start selling Absinthe Verte on December 21! The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle are running full stories on it today, with photos and interviews with Lance Winters and everything! It's a pleasure to add an American distillery to the absinthe map. The cowbell on the label is a nice touch.