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...


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