October 29, 2005

The Absinthe Man Cometh

AbsintheWe've covered absinthe a few times before, most recently to debunk some absinthe myths that surround the world's most famously banned liquor. According to a Wired article we found this week, however, not everything about the drink's mystique is smoke and mirrors.

Ted Breaux, described as an "obsessed microbiologist," has broken absinthe down to the molecular level, and has come up with some interesting findings. His tests are rigorous, and his findings interesting - Breaux agrees with our assessment that most of the newfangled absinthes you find nowadays are just a pale imitation of the real stuff.

Breaux wasn't the only one rediscovering the long-banned beverage. In Europe, food regulations adopted by the EU in 1988 had neglected to mention absinthe, and when they superseded national laws, the drink was effectively re-legalized. New distilleries were popping up all over Europe, selling what Breaux dismisses as "mouthwash and vodka in a bottle, with some aromatherapy oil." Absinthe had disappeared so completely for so long that no one knew how to make it anymore. Including Breaux, who continued trying to reverse engineer it in his lab.
Apparently Breaux has distilled three absinthe variations of his own based on the pre-ban liqueur. The plus side is that it wasn't affected by the recent hurricanes since it's distilled in France, but the downside is that you still can't buy it here in the US because it's against the law. We never thought we'd have a reason to idolize the French, but this might just be it. Plus, watch out NicoShot - Breaux's next release will be a tobacco-based liqueur.

Read the full article at Wired. Plus, visit the Jade Liqueurs site, where you'll also find details about how to buy their absinthe online.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

September 13, 2005

Absinthe Revisited...And Debunked?

Absinthe KitLast week, we offered you our humble opinion on absinthe, the fabled green fairy that is said to have caused so much trouble back in the 19th century. We've found another blog article on the subject, one that offers a different opinion of the drink than its typical "You've Gotta Try It!" image.

The article states that most of the drink's notoriety comes from its counterculture vibe, and that interest would plummet if it were to become legal. It also says that there is no evidence that any absinthe, today or from the past, that can give the sort of hallucinations and mind-bending experiences that have been attributed to it.

"King of Spirits Absinth boasts '100mg of psychoactive thujone,' the sort of claim that is mocked on La Fee Verte, which dismisses the 'glorious descriptions of absinthe highs in 19th century literature' as 'so much flowery hot air.' Although 'thujone is assumed by modern-day druggies to lend some sort of buzz,' says the site, 'it does not.' Or maybe it does. 'Some people claim to experience secondary effects from absinthe,' La Fee Verte concedes, including 'a markedly clear-headed drunkenness.'"

I have to say I felt some cool waves of badassery as I drank my greenish-tinged cup, but that most likely came because I knew the bottle was "smuggled" into the country via the Internet. Plus, the thujone (wormwood's psychedelic ingredient) didn't alter my consciousness, and the binge itself didn't take me anywhere more exotic than Hangover Town.

If you're still undeterred to dance with the green fairy, you can try making your own to avoid the pitfalls of having it imported. You can buy an absinthe kit at Amazon.com and make your own at home! Of course, Liquor Snob is not responsible for any bad behavior, vomiting, marriage proposals, or anything else associated with home-brewed absinthe. (UPDATE: Nor do we take responsibility for the fact that the end result will most assuredly be what one of our readers calls "sickly herb flavored vodka.")

Read the full article, The Search for Real Absinthe, at reason.com.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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