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View Full Version : All about Absinthe...ok, so just a little



Carole
05-06-2008, 06:35 AM
Mr. Vagabond and I have been spying a bottle of legal Absinthe in a local liquor store for a couple of weeks. This past weekend, we forked over $70 and bought it. And so begins the tale...

We were completely giddy with the idea of it all. After our purchase, we hopped into the truck and started plotting our wonderful evening-to-come. While sitting at the very swank Sonic having burgers for dinner, I pulled the Absinthe out of the bag. Two neon green eyes were the only decoration on the glossy, black bottle and they looked as though they had secrets to tell. Secrets that we would only learn while sipping that glorious concoction.

We grinned and talked about how exotic it would be, pouring the liquor over that little lump of sugar and watching it dissolve into something just this side of heaven. We even joked that we would probably end up having to make an Absinthe allowance in our budget in the future.

We stopped off to get a bag of ice, since the refrigerator is acting more like a cooler these days, so that we could have the perfect, icy cold water to add to our glasses. Although we don't own any delicate crystal and there's nary a slotted spoon to be found in our house, we figured it would still work ok using iced tea glasses and a fork. Hey - forks have slots! Well, kinda.

We arrived at home and Mr. Vagabond harnessed up the doggie for her evening potty break. We wanted to make sure nothing interrupted the Absinthe experience once it began, so getting the potty break out of the way was critical to that evening's success.

And finally, it was time. Hubby put ice in the blender with Smart Water - not any old water would do - and whirred it up until it was perfect. Shoving a couple of dirty glasses out of the way, I cleared a spot on the sink counter for the two clean glasses. I read the bottle again and learned that I had it backward. 1.5 ounces of Absinthe added to the glass, sugar cube on top of the slotted spoon (ok, it was a fork) and 2 - 3 ounces of ice cold water dripped slooooooowly over the sugar cube. The bottle explained how the potent aroma of herbs would quickly fill the room as the water mixed with the Absinthe. Also, we were to watch for the "loush", which is apparently the technical term for that magical, opalescent reaction when the two liquids mix. "Loushing", they call it.

I filled a pink measuring cup with 1.5 ounces of Absinthe for each of our glasses, poured it in, carefully rested a fork on the rim of one glass and placed a sugar cube on the fork. Another pink measuring cup held the ice water and unfortunately that proved to be a very messy way to pour. Why can't my measuring cups also have spouts? Oh well.

As the water trickled over the sugar and into the glass, it did swirl around beautifully as the Absinthe became cloudy. Suddenly, the room was completely filled with the strong scent of Anise. Not one of my favorites, I might add. My entire kitchen smelled like the original "Green Death Nyquil" tastes. Trying very hard to not recall memories of my last bout with the flu, we prepared the second glass.

We grinned like fools at each other with very obvious ideas running through our heads about how elegant we were, standing in the kitchen with the painted plywood floor and no real kitchen cabinets to speak of. We went into the living room and hesitated for just a moment before that first sip.

Raising the glasses to our anxious mouths, we looked at each other as we took our first sips. Oh my GOD. The look on his face couldn't have been as bad as mine, but it was probably close. This was the most indescribably disgusting stuff either of us had ever tasted. And we were doing it on purpose! This was way worse than lima beans at Aunt Ann's house when I was a kid. I had to eat those in order to get a piece of chocolate cake after dinner! We both instantly set the glasses on the table and just stared at them as if they were wicked creatures. Mr. Vagabond said something to the effect of, "Holy cow - you know, they talk about that green fairy. I think she pooped in my glass!" That's it! We were drinking fairy poo. Fairy poo that had been out in the sun on a soggy leaf for about a week!

I find it very difficult to describe the actual taste of this Absinthe. From the smell of my kitchen and the smell of the cork, one would think that it would taste strongly of anise. Not so. First, it was extremely watery and very earthy, but not in a good way. Almost like someone made a weak, alcoholic tea out of my compost pile in the backyard, but there was no alcohol taste at all.

Ohhhhhh but wait a minute. You see, we did deliberately keep drinking the stuff. And then we noticed something. Something akin to being intoxicated with alcohol, but not quite. Something was a little different. "I'm feeling it - I think", said hubby, and I replied, "Me too". So what did we do? We drank every drop, wrenched our faces into many contorted positions and then we fixed another round!

Ordinarily, even if a drink is bad, once you get the first one down the second isn't so awful. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case here. If anything, the second was worse than the first because our stomachs were beginning to revolt. But we are smart, my hubby and me. We carefully sipped between bouts with nausea, determined to get at least two glasses down the hatch.

And then it was over. We sat there watching a little reality TV and my head became heavy as a boulder. Hubby was sinking down in his chair little by little until he was almost horizontal. I told him, "I don't feel drunk - I feel high". He agreed, not that either of us know what that feels like. *ahem*

I waited and wondered when that green fairy would arrive. I wanted to be filled with inspiration. I wanted to paint, hubby wanted to play his guitar, we wanted to create something that would last for generations. But she never did visit us. At least not in the living room. My best guess is that she was busy pooping into that lovely black bottle with the mysterious green eyes. Dirty little fairy.

Lyra Jean
05-06-2008, 06:50 AM
Oh wow this is great. Absinthe is fairy poo. And the fairy never visited you. Bummer! At least she didn't visit you and then poo'd in your glass of already poured absinthe.

Carole
05-06-2008, 06:58 AM
Nope. She's a sneaky little fairy. She apparently prefers to poo directly into the bottle! :D

nybx4life
05-06-2008, 07:04 AM
Kinda like beer, ain't it?

But goodness, how you don't barf from it is surprising.
You, dear mod, have the strongest guts of all.

Because I would've poured the whole thing down the sink after the first sip.

Carole
05-06-2008, 07:08 AM
Egads, no. It's not like beer! :D I love beer! But you are absolutely correct - how we didn't barf from it is beyond me! Haha!

rugcat
05-06-2008, 08:50 AM
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r33/rugcat/D004.jpg

mscelina
05-06-2008, 08:58 AM
Absinthe has got to be the singularly most disgusting thing I have ever willingly imbibed.

That being said, the legal version of absinthe in the US is seriously watered down from the good stuff they have in Czechoslovakia. Somehow, after our last trip to the Czech Republic, we ended up with a couple of bottles accidentally in our luggage. *looks innocent* darn those maids at the hotel, trying to get us in trouble ...

...at any rate, I've always thought that absinthe tastes like antifreeze smells--if that makes sense. nasty, horrid, wretched stuff...but OH what a good time...

nybx4life
05-06-2008, 09:01 AM
I just wonder if you'd actually want to try to drink that stuff again....
But, who am I kidding? You wouldn't!

.......


Right?

Perks
05-06-2008, 04:06 PM
Lol! I read this on your blog, Carole. Poor baby.

Just as the Devil's always in the details, the fairy must be in whatever they subtracted and replaced to make the stuff legal.

Little Red Barn
05-06-2008, 04:52 PM
:smiles: Carole, great share and I imagine Absinthe in late 1800's was much better--wormwood being all that back then. ;)

sunna
05-06-2008, 04:57 PM
That was hilarious. thanks for sharing.


That being said, the legal version of absinthe in the US is seriously watered down from the good stuff they have in Czechoslovakia. .

Yeah, the legalized stuff in the States is all the gross without the good time. Probably due to the lack of whatever that toxic thing from the wormwood is that I can never spell....


The real stuff is a trip and a half. :D

mscelina
05-06-2008, 05:05 PM
my husband calls it assinthe. He was NOT a fan. :D

sunna
05-06-2008, 05:29 PM
:roll: Certainly descriptive of how I've acted while drinking it.


Taste wise, I figure if I can do tequilla shots, I can handle absinthe. Bleagh.

Carole
05-06-2008, 06:14 PM
Actually, the bottle states that this is the only legal absinthe in the US that has wormwood so we were thinking that it might be worth the price. Not exactly.

jennontheisland
05-06-2008, 06:20 PM
Oh dear. Sounds like you got some crappy stuff. I think the one with the green eyes on the bottle is a Czech absinthe...avoid anything Czech (with regards to absinthe) at all costs. It's crap. Windex tastes better.

Try something French. There's a brand with a label that looks like a passport page...I forget the name of it...It's delicious. Tastes like anise. Fun visuals too!!

Jersey Chick
05-06-2008, 06:24 PM
Hmm... I was thinking about trying it... now... not so sure.

Great post though - it gave me the giggles without having to drink fairy poo - which, BTW, is not a phrase I thought I'd ever hear.

Fairy poo.

**snerk** :D

Carole
05-06-2008, 07:01 PM
I dunno. Mr. Vagabond has a theory that in about a year, we'll have to uncork the bottle and give it another go. At least to remind ourselves of why we gagged on it the first time. I guess this bottle will last us probably until we die. :D

But I am curious about the French absinthe now. The only thing that holds me back is that the experience is already imprinted on my brain. It's kinda like going back to try again something that gave you food poisoning the first time. Everyone tells you that you do need to try it again, but from a difference source, and all you can do is think about the night hugging the porcelain.

Maybe I'll regain my nerve. We'll see. ;)

sunna
05-06-2008, 07:07 PM
Actually, the bottle states that this is the only legal absinthe in the US that has wormwood so we were thinking that it might be worth the price. Not exactly.

But hey, you got the great phrase "Fairy Poo", so it wasn't completely worthless. :D

I think it's all made from wormwood (?), but there's different kinds of wormwood. If it's legal to sell in the States it has to be pretty much thujone(there! thank you, Google)-free, which is the crazy-makin' toxin from distilling wormwood, or a certain kind of it, or well, something. I think it's also got to be a lower proof here than elsewhere, though don't quote me on that. I drank it in Bosnia, and it was - well, not boring. Embarrassing, but definitely not boring.

I had a friend who was obsessed with the stuff, and could give a treatise at the drop of the hat. I guess some of it rubbed off. :)


Still tastes like uck, no matter what it does. No getting around that.

eveningstar
05-06-2008, 09:36 PM
I think several genuine absinthes are now available in the US, as of pretty recently. This article (http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=379&Itemid=1) from wormwoodsociety.org (http://www.wormwoodsociety.org) has some useful information about it.

I've always wanted to try it, myself, but I really don't like anything anise flavored so between that and the price tag I'm not rushing to the liquor store anytime soon.

Carole
05-06-2008, 09:55 PM
This is the kind we bought

http://www.drinklucid.com/

Carole
05-06-2008, 10:00 PM
Oops - it's apparently "loush" and not "loosh"

heehee

Carole
05-06-2008, 10:12 PM
Yeah - so I'm once again a dope. Instead of quoting slcboston, I edited the post. Then, of course, I saved it. At that point it was so far from the original that I just gave up and deleted it. Sorry!

Summonere
05-06-2008, 11:19 PM
Probably due to the lack of whatever that toxic thing from the wormwood is that I can never spell....

thujone

slcboston
05-06-2008, 11:23 PM
Yeah - so I'm once again a dope. Instead of quoting slcboston, I edited the post. Then, of course, I saved it. At that point it was so far from the original that I just gave up and deleted it. Sorry!

Um, aren't mods supposed to be a little more careful with their powers? :)

(Next time you don't like what I say, you can just tell me. I won't take it personally. Now I have to go round the other threads and see what else is missing. :D)

slcboston
05-06-2008, 11:25 PM
Rather than re-write the whole "myth of absinthe" bit:

http://www.physorg.com/news128693087.html

Carole
05-06-2008, 11:55 PM
Um, aren't mods supposed to be a little more careful with their powers? :)
One would think. My track record says otherwise!


(Next time you don't like what I say, you can just tell me. I won't take it personally. Now I have to go round the other threads and see what else is missing. :D)
Bah! Now where's the fun in that? I was actually trying to commend you on one point and I went and screwed it all up.

TsukiRyoko
05-11-2008, 09:21 AM
I've tried absinthe before and it wasn't too bad. But then, I also busted my face off of a wall that night, because I decided it'd be a good idea to drink more than anyone else. I don't drink elegantly- I drink to win, dammit! To me, absinthe was better than sour apple vodka- but then, anything tastes better to me than that stuff. My cousin and I once took the liberty upon ourselves to drink most of a fifth of sour apple vodka to ourselves, no chasers or anything. Worst morning I've ever had and now I'm very spiteful towards vodka in any form.

CDarklock
05-11-2008, 09:39 AM
Mr. Vagabond and I have been spying a bottle of legal Absinthe in a local liquor store for a couple of weeks.

Which one? Is it the one with the big green eyes on the black bottle? Because that's got among the worst reviews I've ever seen.

I've been researching for a long time, and from what I hear, most absinthe sucks. Jade Liqueurs is the odds-on favorite distiller, but good luck finding that for $70 a bottle. Stick a "1" on the left-hand side.

Haven't indulged, because I simply can't seem to justify $200 for a bottle of liquor. I keep trying, but dammit, there's always something else I'd rather use that $200 to accomplish. I mean, if I had a spare $200 in my pocket right this second, I'd probably buy this (http://www.hellraiserpuzzlebox.com/dark_solid.html) before I bought absinthe.

Smiling Ted
05-11-2008, 12:09 PM
Hmmm.

From what I can gather, the taste of the original pre-ban absinthe was rather beside the point - it was drunk mostly for its psychoactive properties, and the water and sugar was part of the ritual purely to make the stuff drinkable at all.

I've also heard that the recipe for the genuine, original Pernod Fils absinthe has been lost to history.

Dommo
05-11-2008, 12:26 PM
The stuff now a days, is to my knowledge not hallucinogenic. That's not to say alcohol doesn't have that kind of effect(can anyone say beer goggles).

Smiling Ted
05-11-2008, 10:00 PM
Now if you want something truly tasty, alcoholic, and a little more medieval than absinthe...

I'd go for calvados. If you can find it right now.

CDarklock
05-11-2008, 11:16 PM
I've also heard that the recipe for the genuine, original Pernod Fils absinthe has been lost to history.

Edouard Pernod made several absinthes, of which Pernod Fils was the most well-known and was for many years the most widely available from pre-ban bottling.

Some years ago, a cache of Pernod absinthe was found secreted away in a concealed tunnel underneath a French restaurant. It was not Pernod Fils, but dated back to the late 1890s, and was in the best condition of any pre-ban absinthe previously discovered. Jade Liqueurs purchased much of this cache, and used it as the basis for their Absinthe Edouard (http://www.bestabsinthe.com/edouard.htm). JL has also tracked down and purchased as much of the Combier distillery's equipment as was feasible, so their absinthes are prepared in the same still and alembics used by Pernod himself. They also make a recreation of Pernod Fils, their PF 1901 (http://www.bestabsinthe.com/1901.htm).

Smiling Ted
05-12-2008, 08:29 AM
By the way, what's this thread doing in the "Pagan" forum?
Not complaining, just curious....

Vincent
05-12-2008, 08:41 AM
By the way, what's this thread doing in the "Pagan" forum?
Not complaining, just curious....

Because you're all a bunch of absinthe-drinking shroom-snorting new age hippies.

Now, I've had absinthe (tastes like licorice) and I can't say it sent me into a hallucinatory bender. It was strong stuff, yes, but... I suspect there was more to those 19th century accounts than just the Green Fairy. I mean, back then, everyone had syphilis anyway.

CDarklock
05-13-2008, 03:11 AM
By the way, what's this thread doing in the "Pagan" forum?

I wondered the same thing. The green fairy, perhaps? Rather a pagan imagery.

Carole
05-14-2008, 07:37 AM
Pagan forum because that's my home. :) Also because most everyone I know who is not pagan looked at me like I was speaking Klingon when I mentioned absinthe. I don't know any pagans who aren't familiar, at least with the name, so I figured someone here could at least commiserate. :D

Carole
05-14-2008, 07:39 AM
Now if you want something truly tasty, alcoholic, and a little more medieval than absinthe...

I'd go for calvados. If you can find it right now.
I've never heard of calvados. I have been giving serious thought to making mead, though. I've wanted to for years and I still have an old recipe around here somewhere. There's another called methelgin or metheglin - something like that - and I think it's supposed to be similar to mead but easier to make.

TsukiRyoko
05-14-2008, 07:46 AM
I've never heard of calvados. I have been giving serious thought to making mead, though. I've wanted to for years and I still have an old recipe around here somewhere. There's another called methelgin or metheglin - something like that - and I think it's supposed to be similar to mead but easier to make.
I know someone who makes their own meads and they're absolutely delicious! Honey meads, pumpkin meads, they make this stuff called their "house blend" that tastes sweet and savory and hearty and wonderful all at the same time- so much good stuff! I'm not old enough to drink or buy liquor yet (however, I'm am old enough to break the law a little- get off my case ;)) but when I am, I'm absolutely going to start making my own stuff.

Lyra Jean
05-14-2008, 08:00 AM
Have you ever seen The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas. He plays a Muslim and his Viking pals ask him why he isn't drinking and he says he is not allowed to drink anything fermented from grain or grapes. Then the Viking laughs and says it's honey. So he drinks up and is still obeying Muslim law. I thought it was a great way to use a loophole.

Smiling Ted
05-14-2008, 08:03 AM
I've never heard of calvados. I have been giving serious thought to making mead, though. I've wanted to for years and I still have an old recipe around here somewhere. There's another called methelgin or metheglin - something like that - and I think it's supposed to be similar to mead but easier to make.

Calvados is an apple brandy made in Normandy. It's been distilled there under that name since the 16th Century, although there are references to apple liquors brewed in the area as early as the 8th Century.

More important, it's durned tasty.

kullervo
05-14-2008, 08:55 AM
The whole "hallucinogenic Absinthe" thing is a myth. The destructive power of Absinthe is due to its strength. Very high proof.

CDarklock
05-14-2008, 07:53 PM
The destructive power of Absinthe is due to its strength. Very high proof.

Not exactly. Absinthe isn't hallucinogenic; wormwood, in its raw form, is. (It's also a deadly poison. Most herbal poisons are hallucinogenic.) But the "high proof" of absinthe is not really that high... 130 or 140 proof, usually. Most rum distilleries produce a variety of rum at 151 proof, and it doesn't get the same reputation. I've only seen a few absinthes at over 160 proof, usually Swiss blanchettes, and they're not well-reviewed in any case.

My hypothesis (again, haven't tried absinthe myself) is that the herbal ingredients of absinthe and the ritual of preparation are useful in producing a creative mindset, much like yoga or other forms of meditation. It's more a form of self-hypnosis than some quality of the liquor itself, although the liquor probably has some assistive properties which haven't been identified.

Incidentally, what makes absinthe "legal" again is that the law prohibits a certain thujone content in the end product. (Thujone is a component of wormwood with significant chemical similarity to THC, the active hallucinogenic in marijuana.) Absinthe was previously thought illegal because people were expecting the thujone content of absinthe to match the thujone content of the wormwood used to produce it. Modern analysis has shown that over 80% of the thujone in the wormwood stays in the wormwood during the distillation process, so no real absinthe has ever actually contained enough thujone to be illegal.

There are "macerated" absinthes which simply crush the herbal ingredients in a vat of alcohol, let them soak, and bottle it. These are illegal (often advertised with their thujone content), as well as not being very good, and I'd generally be leery of something that just casually soaked poisonous herbs in my liquor and left the collected detritus in the bottom of the bottle.

Can you tell I've been thinking about getting some absinthe for a very, very long time? ;)

Elwood
05-14-2008, 08:01 PM
Although not a Pagan, but rather pagan like in attitude. I am into the earth and nature and balance and that other Pagan thing that young men urge for. I think Aquavit ice cold out of the freezer might do the trick. It is quite Anis like but I do not know if it is adequate for Pagan processes. Well for mine it is at least!

Carole
05-15-2008, 06:26 AM
Have you ever seen The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas. He plays a Muslim and his Viking pals ask him why he isn't drinking and he says he is not allowed to drink anything fermented from grain or grapes. Then the Viking laughs and says it's honey. So he drinks up and is still obeying Muslim law. I thought it was a great way to use a loophole.
I absolutely love that movie, and I've commented on that very thing more than once. The viking who laughs - he's my favorite. There's just something about him.

The one thing I can't stand about the movie is in the beginning when they all are waking up and passing the bowl of water around. Oh, blegh - I swear I'm gagging just typing about it. I have to cover my head and ears and Mr. Vagabond pokes at me when that part is over or else I'll heave right in the living room floor!! :D

Carole
05-15-2008, 06:27 AM
Although not a Pagan, but rather pagan like in attitude. I am into the earth and nature and balance and that other Pagan thing that young men urge for. I think Aquavit ice cold out of the freezer might do the trick. It is quite Anis like but I do not know if it is adequate for Pagan processes. Well for mine it is at least!
Ah, there wasn't anything pagany about my absinthe experience. Just another average night in Mr. & Mrs. Vagabond's house! Haha.

By the way, Elwood - did I hear you say rrrrrubber biscuit? Bow bow bow....