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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

She’s Back!

posted by on August 8 at 11:39 AM


The green fairy, absinthe, has arisen to legally kiss American lips for the first time in nearly a hundred years. No, not the crap called Absente. This is the real deal.

Absinthe begins as a neutral spirit in which green anise, Florence fennel, wormwood and other herbs are soaked. The resulting mixture is then redistilled. If the absinthe is clear — a blanche absinthe — it’s done. A green, or verte, absinthe goes through a coloring step, using petite absinthe, hyssop and melissa to impart the distinctive peridot tinge.

Notorious for driving drinkers to the funny farm – Van Gogh supposedly sliced off his ear while under her spell – the liquor’s status was changed in the U.S. to jibe with the E.U. The medicine-flavored drink’s feared chemical, theujue, from wormwood, is known to cause convulsions or death in large doses, but one glass of absinthe contains only as much of it as a turkey prepared with rosemary. They now admit.

Bottled under the name Lucid, the green gal hasn’t arrived on liquor-store shelves in Washington. You’ll have to contact retailers in the New York area. Special spoons for the no-longer-nefarious sugar-cube-melting ritual can be found here.

RSS icon Comments


OMG! Sweetness. Looks like Cafe' Met will finally have the real stuff. WOOT!

Posted by Original Monique | August 8, 2007 11:41 AM


Quick! Ecce Homo! Lock your doors!

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 8, 2007 11:48 AM

bring on the absinthe parties!

Posted by red | August 8, 2007 12:12 PM

Except it actually tastes like how you would imagine huffing fermented poo in a jar smells...

Posted by kid icarus | August 8, 2007 12:24 PM

It doesn't taste so bad. Stop breathing through your nose and chase it with something fruity.

What irritates me is that there's something inside of it that causes an array of small bumps on the roof of my mouth for an hour or so. Pisses me off.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 8, 2007 12:34 PM

I've never tried it and always wanted to. Much like LSD.

Posted by monkey | August 8, 2007 12:36 PM

Totally agree, kid icarus, the stuff is vile. But I'm not the best judge, I'll take a Red Vine over actual licorice any day...

Posted by Dominic Holden | August 8, 2007 12:37 PM

Monkey-skip acid, try mushrooms. A lot easier, gentler on the body...and who wants to be high for 12 hours, anyways? I find with mushrooms you get about half the time. And everytime I've done acid, I get the flu within a couple of days-it's very hard on the body. Mushrooms have never done me wrong.

Posted by Dianna | August 8, 2007 12:43 PM

It mixes surprisingly well with red bull... one of the many things that made my 22nd b-day the one I remember most ... and that night was blue for some reason. I've been jonzing for a bottle ever sinse.

Posted by OR Matt | August 8, 2007 12:48 PM

attention f*cktards news flash from reality:

absinthe is liqueur, albeit very strong ( usually 70 proof ) its ONLY FREAKING LIQUOR!! man I love it when every slack jawed freak thinks he is the next Alex Shulgin based on what they heard from some drunken college buddy who had like a crazy trip man.

Absinthe is an excellent cocktail ingredient, and its return will hopefully bring a new appreciate for existing herbal liquors like chartreuse, fernet, cynar, aperol and others. but its not going to get you high, and most people raised on ridiculously sweet drinks like rum and coke will downright hate it.

Posted by Vincent | August 8, 2007 12:49 PM

i've never had absinthe, but cynar and aperol are deliiiiiiiiicious. fact.

Posted by little bird! | August 8, 2007 1:00 PM

Dianna #8, I absolutely LOVE mushrooms!!! A couple times a year I indulge in the shrooms.

I just wanted to try LSD just once.

Posted by monkey | August 8, 2007 1:05 PM

If I remember correctly, the article I read in the New Yorker said that genuine absinthe is not nearly as bitter as the cheap imitations that have been on the market for a while now. The article is "Green Gold" from the March 13 issue, 2006. Check it out if you can find it...
I prefer Bekerovka. It tastes like cookies.

Posted by emeralds | August 8, 2007 1:06 PM

Ahh, ok Monkey. Maybe it's worth trying once. But mushrooms are way better, imo.

Also, does this make of anyone think of the scene in "Eurotrip" where the brother and sister made out with each other after drinking absinth? Don't act like you haven't seen it.

Posted by Dianna | August 8, 2007 1:18 PM

Why do you keep comparing fungi to acid? They're two completely different trips.

Posted by Mr. Poe | August 8, 2007 1:23 PM

I know, Poe, that's why I want to try the other.

Did I mention though how much I love mushrooms?

Posted by monkey | August 8, 2007 1:47 PM

Finally, no more paying exorbitant shipping costs to get the stuff sent over from Europe!

Posted by Hernandez | August 8, 2007 2:10 PM

I guess it depends on what you get. My few acid trips were a lot like mushroom trips, though I was more hyper and they were much harsher.

Posted by Dianna | August 8, 2007 2:22 PM

DOB makes LSD seem like huffing paint by comparison. 36 hours, baby!

Posted by NaFun | August 8, 2007 2:27 PM

Bleh. A friend of mine smuggled some back from Europe, and decided it'd be fun to watch Moulin Rouge and drink absinthe. Of the six of us, I was the only one who finished my drink, and all of us were absolutely disgusted by the licorice flavor.

Posted by Gitai | August 8, 2007 2:29 PM

But doesn't this also mean we could hop over the Canadian border and snag some and bring it back her legally now? You know, rather than seeking it 3,000 miles away?

Posted by Sam | August 8, 2007 2:53 PM

Am I the only person who thinks it tastes, smells, and looks like Lite Nyquil?

Posted by Geni | August 8, 2007 2:56 PM

Vincent is my new hero.

Most absinthe is shit: industrial alcohol with a bunch of dubious ingredients jammed in it in some Communist bloc coal tar factory. The spoon ritual was devised by and appeals to knob-ends who need to get a real hobby, like slamming heroin.

I'm not a huge fan of Cynar, but I love Fernet Branca, and Chartreuse is the nectar of the Gods. My favorite, though, is impossible to get here, thanks to the Washington State Liquor Control Board: Suze, a gentian-and vanilla-flavored herbal aperitif.

Posted by Fnarf | August 8, 2007 3:30 PM

when will the WSLCB treat us like adults? answer: never.

Posted by maxsolomon | August 8, 2007 3:32 PM

Everyone knows aquavit is the true test of one's alcoholic palate.

Posted by laterite | August 8, 2007 4:36 PM

Aquavit is shot liquor. It never touches your palate. It's more interesting than vodka, sure, but so are most things in life.

Posted by Fnarf | August 8, 2007 5:11 PM

Heh, Vincent - I've had the great fortune of trying chartreuse, fernet, and cynar for the first times in my life over the last two weeks. Lucky me! All were shocking, surprising and quite delightful, charming, each in their own way.
I'd never liken any of them in any sort of hamfisted way to Jaegermeister, which I've never touched -- I swear.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | August 8, 2007 5:55 PM

Lucid is legal here and uses the correct species of artimesia in the distillation process, but has a much lower thujone content than traditional absinthe. It is kind of like selling pot with all of the thc removed, right?

Posted by crazyforthegreenfairy | August 8, 2007 6:49 PM

Like any other mass consumed alcoholic beverage, in its day (and now) Absinthe existed in a quality pyramid much as wine does today, for each quality brand there were many more indifferent and positively harmful versions being sold cheaply to those who could not afford to buy a reputable brand. Common adulterants were cupric acetate (to provide the valued green colour) and antimony trichloride (which provided a cloudiness when water was added in imitation of the milky appearance of diluted absinthe). The purity of the base alcohol used for lesser brands would also have been questionable, and toxic levels of methanol from poor rectification would have been a real possibility. An additional aggravating factor is that as the cheaper brands were lower in alcohol than the quality brands, around 45% abv for ‘absinthe demi-fine’ compared to 68 or 72% for ‘absinthe superior’, someone drinking the cheaper version and seeking to obtain the same effect from the alcohol would have needed to consume more of the absinthe and hence more adulterants. It is probably the adulterants of low quality Absinth, and their dangerous health effects, that lead to the eventual banning of Absinth.

The stuff you find out there that tastes like ass is now, and was then, all at the low end of the quality pyramid.

I can highly recommend any absinth made by Ted Breaux (Jade Liqueurs absinthes). His stuff is authentic to the fine old stuff that was at the top of the quality pyramid (though it will set you back a few shekels) and has a lovely complex aroma and taste that reminds one of anis but not to the point where an avowed disliker of licorice (like me) could find it distasteful.

You can find Ted’s products, and a wealth of interesting information, (including the information above) at my favorite is his 136 proof Jade Absinthe Nouvelle-Orléans.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | August 8, 2007 7:09 PM

All I know is, I threw a party once, one of the guests brought a bottle of absinthe, I woke up the next morning. I remember NOTHING in between.

I'm told people had fun. *shrug*

Posted by supergp | August 8, 2007 7:32 PM

"I can highly recommend any absinth made by Ted Breaux"

Breaux is making absinth now? Sure you don't mean absinthe? explains the difference. Absinthe USA = No thujone. Absinth = thujone bomb.

According to Marilyn Manson:

“Wormwood, when you distil it, makes this thing called thujone; it’s like the equivalent of THC in marijuana. I have a guy who sends it to me in a dropper.”

Did I mention he's bring out his own absinthe, called Mansinthe!

Posted by Moustache_Monster | August 9, 2007 8:39 AM

Next you will be allowed to go to Cuba.

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