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JosephMory

Kosher Absinthe

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By Oxygenee on Thursday, August 30, 2001 - 09:29 am: Edit

It is with deep reluctance that I enter into a public dispute with so eminent a authority, but I am afraid it is YOU who are mistaken, Absinthedrinker my friend. While it is true that the Rimbaud sketches show an uncircumcised robinette, there is a small publicity stamp at the the base of this fountain that explains all: "Absinthe La Juive". Of course as you know kosher absinthe was a significant sector of the market, there were several brands (you'll find one illustrated on Pg 24 of Delahaye's "Art et Histoire"), but "La Juive" was by far the most popular. So popular in fact, that like Pernod Fils, the label was often copied and satirised. An example of this is to be found on Pg114 of Conrad.

 

 

Doing a little bit of research I found this message from Oxygenee in a forum (You can see it's a little bit old); in any case, as he says there was a time when kosher absinthes were available. If you are wondering what makes an absinthe kosher or even what kosher means, I am willing to shed some light in exchange for leads to find absinthe permitted for jewish consumption.

 

KOSHER means literally "permitted" and it refers basically to the dietary laws of the jewish people. There are a series of laws and regulations that have nothing to do with absinthe, so I will concentrate on the one that does. Any product made from grapes, grape jam, grape juice, wine, cognac, brandy, eau de vie, vinegar, etc has to have rabbinical supervision to be permitted for jewish consumption. Alcohol from any other source, grains, potatoes, beets, fruits, sugar cane, honey etc. are persmisible without any supervision but the source of the alcohol has to be verified.

 

The objective of this thread is for me and every other jew interested in everything related to absinthe to be able to find absinthes permisible for us to drink, whether made from grapes and with rabbinical supervision, or made of alcohol of other sources.

 

Absinthe producers are more than welcome to shed some light. :cheers:

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None of the absinthes available that use a grape base today, would qualify. Not as far as I know.

Edited by hartsmar

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I was also wondering if the herbs that are used in Absinthe would also have to be kosher.

 

I have seen spices at the supermarket that indicated on the label that they were certified and kosher.

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BS"D

I was also wondering if the herbs that are used in Absinthe would also have to be kosher.

There is no prohibition whatsoever on any plant, herb, weed, flower or tree. There is however a prohibition on the insects found in them. That's why you will see many herb products, like spices and some fresh produce with a kosher supervision stamp. That basically means that they have been checked for bugs. The majority of orthodox jews wash thoroughly and check leafy vegetables and avoid certain problematic vegetables like brocoli and cawliflower. Some opinions are that this is going already too far. It depends what opinion you follow.

 

Other problems with spices include non kosher food coloring (carmine for example) and animal carrier oils.

 

But there are plenty of absinthes using sugar and beet bases, aren't there?

Hence the purpose of this thread to find them.

Edited by JosephMory

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I meant that in response to Hartsmar's post about grape-based absinthes. Didn't people give you a list of sugar and beet-based absinthes in your intro thread? I could've sworn I saw some.

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BS"D

I meant that in response to Hartsmar's post about grape-based absinthes. Didn't people give you a list of sugar and beet-based absinthes in your intro thread? I could've sworn I saw some.

They did and I really appreciated it. But this thread is to dig a little deeper. I'd like actual producers or somebody very close to them to verify the source of the alcohol. Maybe some of the producers will shed some light. Don't get me wrong, I don't need to know any recipe or secret or anything like that. Just the source of the alcohol.

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I'm curious about what is entailed in "rabbinical supervision" required to make something kosher. Does the rabbi merely have to come in, check the place out, verify sources and methods and then sign off on it, or does he have to personally supervise the actual production? Also, must this be done with every batch, or can a producer have a rabbi come in for a one-time certification?

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BS"D

 

There are many ways in which a manufacturer can get kosher supervision. First you have to sign a contract, give a full disclosure of the product(s) ingredients, production methods, cleaning products, etc. to ensure that not only the raw materials are kosher (or there is no question of their status) but also everything involving the product.

 

Case in point, I know for a fact that certain wines use blood or egg whites to filter impurities; even though they are not present in the final product you have there two big no-nos. One blood, prohibited in every way no matter the source, and eggs, also require supervision because of the potential of blood inside them.

 

Some products require full time supervision, especially involving the more sensible laws, like the one mentioned above about blood, but also where there's a potential mix of milk and meat products, another big no-no. Other products, since you signed a contract and you have disclosed everything involving your production there is no need for a full time supervision. However there are impromptu audits and if you fail because of the rabbi finding non kosher raw materials or something else that draws his attention, you face a potential civil law suit.

 

There are as many kosher supervision agencies around the world as rabbis willing to give it, but like in everything there are some more reputable than others.

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"Other products, since you signed a contract and you have disclosed everything involving your production there is no need for a full time supervision."

 

Sounds like this would be the case with absinthe. Shouldn't be much of a problem for an interested producer. Hopefully, we'll see something like this before long.

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BS"D

 

Unfortunately as with everything, kosher supervision comes with a price tag, and it would be a matter of finding it cost effective for the producers. I can tell you one thing, there are a lot of orthodox jews looking for something new and if you provide a kosher product that formerly wasn't, you are sure to make some noise. Especially with all the history that jews and absinthe have in common in France.

 

If someone would be interested, I could find out about a respectable kosher supervision agency in France. I know there are kosher french wines so they are deffinitely there.

 

However, I failed to explain that there are products that don't need kosher supervision as long as there is certainty of the status of the product. For instance, if you have an absinthe whose alcohol comes from grains or beets, if you disclose it on the label, there is no need for supervision and the product would be inherently kosher. One example close to absinthe in nature of the spirit is gin and gin doesn't need kosher supervision.

Edited by JosephMory

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By Oxygenee on Thursday, August 30, 2001 - 09:29 am: Edit

It is with deep reluctance that I enter into a public dispute with so eminent a authority, but I am afraid it is YOU who are mistaken, Absinthedrinker my friend. While it is true that the Rimbaud sketches show an uncircumcised robinette, there is a small publicity stamp at the the base of this fountain that explains all: "Absinthe La Juive". Of course as you know kosher absinthe was a significant sector of the market, there were several brands (you'll find one illustrated on Pg 24 of Delahaye's "Art et Histoire"), but "La Juive" was by far the most popular. So popular in fact, that like Pernod Fils, the label was often copied and satirised. An example of this is to be found on Pg114 of Conrad.

 

 

Doing a little bit of research I found this message from Oxygenee in a forum (You can see it's a little bit old); in any case, as he says there was a time when kosher absinthes were available.

 

The posting you quote from me was a joke, part of a satirical exchange of spoof history with my friend and fellow absinthiana collector Absinthedrinker.

 

In reality, there was no absinthe called La Juive, and no recorded kosher absinthe in the Belle Epoque. Some of the leading entrepreneurs behind the absinthe industry at the time however were Jewish, and they were attacked, as were many other Jewish businessmen, during the period of heightened anti-semitic activity resulting from the Dreyfus Affair. You can read fuller details on my website here: http://www.oxygenee.com/absinthe-BOOKS7.html

 

In the modern era, Doubs Premium Absinthe is the only Beth Din certified kosher absinthe I know of, but there are almost certainly others as well. Provided one works from a grain alcohol base, it's not a difficult product to obtain kosher certification for.

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I would think Switzerland would be a better bet, since it seems to be the french that use more grape base. However, if it's really as simple as a line of disclosure on the back label about the base alcohol used, a simple well-composed email to a couple of key players to let them know how easy it would be to open up a whole new market might yield quick results. Markus might be a good place to start?

Edited by Wild Bill Turkey

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BS"D

In the modern era, Doubs Premium Absinthe is the only Beth Din certified kosher absinthe I know of, but there are almost certainly others as well. Provided one works from a grain alcohol base, it's not a difficult product to obtain kosher certification for.

 

HA! My very first absinthe and it just happens to be Kosher....G-d loves me!

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I'd like actual producers or somebody very close to them to verify the source of the alcohol.

 

I can verify that the current and upcoming Un Emile products use a neutral spirit base derived from beets.

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BS"D

 

Eric, do you know the producers? Is there a way I could get in contact with them? Thanks in advance; this is the kind of feedback I'm looking for.

Edited by JosephMory

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Hmmm. The possibility of a new product from Un Emile. Sounds most promising.

Yes, especially as it's not by Un Emile

I thought that inherent in its being promising.

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I haven't tried it since the reformulation of their recipes,

but the older version was fairly nice. The pine flavor was subtle and just noticable. As was typical for the UE products, the overall flavor was much too thin.

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