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bigwhitt

Commercial production techniques

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We all know that there are basically 3 methods to produce commercial absinthe:

 

1)Distilled

2) Mixed and Macerated

3) Oil Mix

 

Or at least I hope none of those are connected in either way and if they are I'm sure Ill find out about it. I just had 2 questions, how do the 3 methods compare as far as taste, louche, color, etc and as far as the oil mixes For a couple of years now I have seen absinthe essences on sale in various BS websites that also sell the hokey "Absinth Kits" Just curious about the differences in the absinthes that are made via oil mix and the essences. I would be grateful to know.

 

Thanks,

Aaron

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There are basically two methods to make absinthe: distilled and oil mix. Maceration is something that is done as the first stage before distillation.

 

Simply macerating herbs in alcohol won't make absinthe - but it can make some vile swill marketed and sold as absinthe. King of Spirits comes to mind.

 

The essences on the photos are from a guy named Gert Strand, located in Malmö, Sweden. He is the inventor of an ingenious device, made from plastic buckets, that can be used to distill alcohol from a mash. He sells various kinds of "turbo yeast" to make the mash and various flavouring essences to turn the result into "whisky", "rum", "absinthe" etc. The target group is mainly swedes who want to get drunk without having to pay outrageous taxes. We're not talking fine liquor here.

 

The absinthe essence is probably very similar to what is used to make oil mixes - it is, after all, simply essential oils of various herbs. He claims that it is exactly the same as many commercial manufacturers use. I guess that's meant to be a recommendation.

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Funny thing is, the essence bottle to the right isn't even "absinthe" essence. It's "besk" which means bitter. In other words, a bitter - like Gammeldansk, Bäska Droppar etc.

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He is the inventor of an ingenious device, made from plastic buckets, that can be used to distill alcohol from a mash.
That sounds like it would be an amazing still!

 

bigwhitt, the "mix and macerate" is just an oil mix that has supposedly had additional herbs macerated in it for additional coloring, flavor and aroma.

 

While one or two oil mixes aren't too bad, like La Fée and Doubs, most lack the finesse of distilled natural herbs. It's sort of like comparing fresh-squeezed lemonade with lemonade made from a mix or concentrate.

 

In terms of purchasing essences and making your own oil mix, you'd have to have very good essences, be really good at blending and have an educated palate in order to make something which approximated good absinthe. There was an absinthe (dubbed 'Hellboy' by its creator) made from Gert Strand essences that was making the rounds at the northwest events. This was made by one of the best HG'ers around and it was still really weird and creepy tasting—kind of like Lemon Pledge-flavored Good & Plentys. I could still taste it the next day.

 

With essenses, the louche is as strong as you make it. Anise and fennel oils are responsible for the louche effect so if the maker dumps a lot in, it'll louche like hell.

 

As for color, oil mixes are artificially colored and they usually look that way. Although I must say last night I had a truly fine HG that had recently been (naturally) colored and it was as green as lime Kool-Aid™.

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Just for fun I bought some essences. 2 vials of the Prestige Absinthe essence. NOt the Absinthe TF Pro Essence since that does not actually contain wormwood. I poured one vial into a 750ML Bottle of Everclear. It actually looked and tasted like Hills...not good exactly. However I added the second vial as well. And I will tell you that after the second vial the louche, aroma and taste was 98% identical to commercially produced La Fee! It was really quite an experience. I have now ordered another vial of the essence as well as a bottle of the wormwood essence just to try it. Now don't get me wrong all you absinthe purists out there. I do not claim that this is actual absinthe, but definitely a better and cheaper alternative than Absente or Herbsaint when you are low on cash! I do however make one suggestion...I used Everclear and that produced quite a STRONG alcohol flavour that was not 100% pleasant. so I would suggest something around thee 70-100 proof range to get a better flavour. Especially for those of you out there who do not like to use sugar. Just an observation and an experiment. Let me know what you think.

 

Thanks,

Aaron

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Did you dilute the everclear to 65% from 95%? If not I would suggest doing that since Absinthe traditionally would be between 60-75% and not the 95% that everclear is (around here any way).

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I think you're being silly, that's what I think. :harhar:

 

But hey, experience is the best teacher; there's nothing wrong with educating yourself. I think it may be a cheaper alternative to other substitutes, but I doubt it's better. You should just get a bottle of arak.

 

As for the strength of the Everclear, it hardly matters, since you're watering the drink down anyway; just add more water. Gimp beat me to it.

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Did you dilute the everclear to 65% from 95%? If not I would suggest doing that since Absinthe traditionally would be between 60-75% and not the 95% that everclear is (around here any way).

 

 

I did not dilute the everclear..I think Id have to get a bigger bottle for that...but ill try it. Im an absinthe scientist at work. ;) Any ideas on the proportions to dillute it that much?

 

Thanks,

Aaron

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.95/.65 * original volume - original volume.

 

Start with a 750mL bottle of everclear.

 

.95/.65 *750mL -750mL = 346mL

 

Add 350 ml of water and you have 1.1L of 65% alcohol.

 

If you just top up a 750mL bottle to 1L it will be about 71%. that would work as well.

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Close enough, though not quite. Ethanol and water don't add up in nice algebraic ways. It helps to have a chart that shows how to go from one strength to another, like they have in Duplais. I've found similar charts on google, but I don't seem to be having much luck with it tonight.

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How about just drinking the Everclear and having a good falling-down-drunk episode, and save the portion of the brain dedicated to tasting absinthe for another night?

 

I enjoy trying new wines; I've sampled hundreds and found a dozen or two that I really like. I read an interesting post not long ago about the futility of adding grape juice and tannin to vodka in the hopes of creating a decent wine. Nothing wrong with Everclear for what it's good for (primarily the early steps of making a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, I think) but I think it's likely the end product won't be as enjoyable as either a poor absinthe or a shot of straight Everclear, no matter how good a job you do with your efforts at mixing.

 

If you manage to make something drinkable and actually like it, more power to you, though. I enjoy whipping up some pretty odd culinary concoctions from time to time that I like even if others don't.

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Like I said on Fee Verte a while ago, having A.a. as a main ingredient doesn't make it absinthe, just like having cabbage doesn't make something Kim Chi.

 

It's an educational experience to see what kinds of shit are out there, but for now I'd concentrate on finding some decent absinthe to get obsessed with.

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Like I said on Fee Verte a while ago, having A.a. as a main ingredient doesn't make it absinthe, just like having cabbage doesn't make something Kim Chi.

 

Or sauerkraut,

a heavenly foodstuff when done right, which it rarely is.

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Im an absinthe scientist at work. ;) Any ideas on the proportions to dillute it that much?
Uh-oh!! Move over Ted Breaux!! Try this.
Like I said on Fee Verte a while ago, having A.a. as a main ingredient doesn't make it absinthe, just like having cabbage doesn't make something Kim Chi.

 

It's an educational experience to see what kinds of shit are out there, but for now I'd concentrate on finding some decent absinthe to get obsessed with.

Amen.
Or sauerkraut,

a heavenly foodstuff when done right, which it rarely is.

I used to make my own kraut. The place I just moved to had a 3 gallon kraut crock out behind the house collecting leaves. Ima make me some kraut this year!

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In terms of purchasing essences and making your own oil mix, you'd have to have very good essences, be really good at blending and have an educated palate in order to make something which approximated good absinthe.  There was an absinthe (dubbed 'Hellboy' by its creator) made from Gert Strand essences that was making the rounds at the northwest events.  This was made by one of the best HG'ers around and it was still really weird and creepy tasting—kind of like Lemon Pledge-flavored Good & Plentys.  I could still taste it the next day. 

 

 

I have also had "Absinthe Industriel", made by a very knowlegable person, from UDSA food grade essential oils as an oil mix. After one taste, smell really, but I tasted a sip, it louched like hell in the sink.

 

It was BAD. I liked the hellboy better, but I was REALLY drunk at the time.

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