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Derrick

First Experiences

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I too remember absinthe mentioned in reference to the color "chartreuse" in my youth. It was also mentioned in reference to Van Gogh, but later I was surprised to learn how popular it really was and commonly drunk by everyone, not just crazy artists. My first encounter with anise flavored liqueurs occurred in 1988 while I was vacationing in Kansas City and ordered an aperitif made with anisette on a whim, knowing it was similar to absinthe (I still have the swizzle stick featuring a penguin serving a drink on a tray).

 

In 1998 I purchased Conrad’s book for my friend Purple who’d been talking about making it at home, and printed out what information I could find online for him. While doing that research I found the La Fée Verte site and signed onto their forum but only managed to lurk mostly. I also read an online article about a woman in San Francisco going by the name Absinthia, who was hosting “absinthe” parties.

 

Purple’s steeped concoctions turned out to be potent and redolent of secondary effects. At the party where he served his first results I remember seeing yellow halos after the second glass and feeling very comfortable standing next to the window in his tiny apartment for most of the party. I’ve never before or since been so comfortable being a wallflower.

 

The next year I attended Burning Man determined to find the real thing, only to come up mostly empty-handed. Absinthia was there, but there was crowd where she was serving and I wasn’t pushy enough to get a glass. I also encountered the guy who sells “absinthe” steeping kits online and was really put off by his supercilious attitude to anyone questioning the accuracy of his information, which I knew from La Fée Verte to be bogus anyway.

 

Eventually I found some guys from Southern California who had brought their own concoctions and were gifting Dixie cup samples of their various flavour experiments to anyone who wandered into the camp. I don’t know if their product was distilled but it was sufficiently sugared to drink without water. To my unrefined sensibilities almost every single flavour I tasted was palatable and several were quite tasty. One notable flavour was primarily peppermint with notes of cinamon and reminded everyone of candy canes. I was talking to people about what I’d learned historically from the Conrad book, so the servers invited me to keep sampling and soon I had a very decent buzz. I don’t remember being too hung over the next day, but I also had no ambition to leave my campsite.

 

Several years later, having followed the development of various commercial offerings through the reviews at La Fée Verte, I convinced my father, a teetoler, to pick up what he could find on a trip to London. I should have known he would bring back a bottle of Sebor he’d picked up at the duty-free store at Hethrow airport. It was bitter and anisey, but I am convinced that its flavour improved over time and by the time I’d finished off the bottle three months later the flavors had melded into a less bitter although somewhat burnt finish.

 

Soon after that I met Hiram and the Wormwood Society was formed and my palate and experience with commercial absinthe was begun and the rest is history.

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This has definitely turned out to be a very successful thread. It has been a wonderful experience to hear from all those that participated. I would love to hear more. ^_^

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Wow.  I'm totally picturing you in a red leisure suit and white platform shoes striking that Saturday Night Fever pose.  :D

 

 

 

Actually, the suit was absinthe green, and was custom made for me by my upstairs neighborsand good friends, a charmingly mismatched gay couple named Ramone and Ward. Ramone was one half of a well known 1950s Cuban dance team, and Ward was a banker, so staid that the Boy Scouts today would probably make an exception and allow him to be a scout leader...hell, Dumbya might actually have appointed him Secretary of the Damned Treasury! Ramone dubbed the suit my "Absinthe Pimp" outfit, and I wore it with great pride.

 

Oh, the nostalgia...

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Oh, even better.

 

And as for the review by that Larry guy, I still have it.

The title of the review:

CUSTOMER COMPARISON BETWEEN EDOUARD PERNOD 1906 VINTAGE ABSINTHE AND SUISSE #3

 

As unfair as it is to take the title out of context, I feel it has much more comedic value this way.

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My wife made a necklace for an MIT competition (to get a free glass making class) and titled it "absinthe memory".

She then asked me what I knew about absinthe (since I'm an alcohol whore, i.e. useless drunk), so I searched. Logan commercial ($70) and a steeping kit ensued. I was horrified.

Lurked on the absinthe mosh pit for a while (yes I found that before I found Fee Verte, don't know how) bought some FG and UE, had friends over and fell in love with the potential of the distilled products.

My friend enjoyed the herb/vodka crap best and his now wife said "it tastes like Pastis". None have sampled with me since.

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Oh, even better.

 

And as for the review by that Larry guy, I still have it.

The title of the review:

CUSTOMER COMPARISON BETWEEN EDOUARD PERNOD 1906 VINTAGE ABSINTHE AND SUISSE #3

 

As unfair as it is to take the title out of context, I feel it has much more comedic value this way.

 

At that point, the reviewer had only tried 3 distilled absinthes and the #3 tasted more like Edouard than Segarra, so there you have it. :secret2:

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I was sitting in a bookstore/coffee shop with a beautiful woman. There was a book rack close enough for me to see the titles. Conrad's book was there. I bought it. I forgot all about homebrewing. I got on the Internet, found Kallisti's site. I made some friends (Kallisti, Nephilim, Luger, Big Mango Don, Ted Breaux). At no time was I sucked in by anybody's pitch for commercial absinthe. I pursued old books about absinthe instead. I decided to play an absinthe expert on the Internet; fooled a lot of people, got a lot of free absinthe.

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In all honesty, I think I've consumed more free absinthe than purchased absinthe.

 

I forgot to mention 20th Century Rimbaud, who was very helpful in the early days, putting me on to Kyle, who was just about the only source back then, not that I ever ordered any Sebor. I opted instead for Bettina and a bottle of Deva :( . Then Spirits Corner was discovered and after tasting some of their wares I wrote the Spaniards off. Somebody made a Swiss connection and shared some, then I knew I was finally on the true path. Then came the HGers, and I wrote Europe off as well (except for European HGers). At about the same time, I attended a Jade coming out party (the original Thai Jade) and finally resolved in my confused brain the discrepancy between the wonderful descriptions in the old books and the mostly crap I had drunk, crap that can only give absinthe a bad name.

 

Newbies don't realize in what promising times we live. A lot has changed in a fairly short time.

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Awww. my first official absinthe experience.

 

I am not counting a few brands of absinthe I tried since they are far from close to being what a real absinthe should be like. My first experience with a Jade product was less than stellar. However, after some dialogue with Ted, a new moon is beginning to eclipse that experience.

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Awww. my first official absinthe experience.

 

I am not counting a few brands of absinthe I tried since they are far from close to being what a real absinthe should be like. 

 

Cheating!

We want to know about the first time, no matter what it was.

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ok,

 

my first experience was with the Le Mercer absinthe 45%. After tasting it in Oban, Scotland I too, like Hiram, thought it wasn't the exotic taste I was looking for or expected, but none the less it was good, much better than pastis I have had previously. La fee was the second which , imo, was a little tastier than the Le Mercer.

 

BTW, I think absente is decent though not a true absinthe. It has a distinct light bitter finish which puts it above some other pastis for me. Nice while awaiting the next bottle from overseas.

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Last week we opened the Absente that my husband purchased because he is a bit impatient. :P I don't know what I was expecting but it was sort of an anti-climactic experience.

 

It's possible I poured the drinks too strong. We took our drinks and sat in front of the tv enjoying a movie. When the movie was over both our glasses were still half full. It just wasn't what I thought it would be, I want to say it tasted "artificial" but I have nothing to compare it to. I'm an amateur herbalist and apothecary, I am familiar with the taste of these plants. I just think I was expecting something more earthy.

 

I'll try again sometime with a different water ratio, but I think this experience was unremarkable even tho it was not unpleasant.

 

I'm looking forward to a real absinthe. I've been incredibly busy the last few weeks and have sort of put my desires on the back burner, but I plan to order from Europe next time.

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It's possible I poured the drinks too strong...I'll try again sometime with a different water ratio, but I think this experience was unremarkable even tho it was not unpleasant.

 

I'm sure that you've heard it before, but in case you haven't definitely try a higher ratio of water if it tastes too strong. I've found that some absinthe is great at a 3:1 while others are best to me at a 4:1. And of course if you're drinking crap (Hills, et al) no amount of water will take the heat away...

 

I'm looking forward to a real absinthe.

 

I've never tried Absente, but I'm sure that you'll prefer the real absinthes over it easily! And if you would like advice from one newbie to another, you might try my favorite right now which is Verte de Fougerolles. It also seems to be a recommendation for newbies by a decent portion of the more experienced absintheurs. It also happens to be very reasonably priced as absinthe goes.

 

:cheers:

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I have been drinking Absente this past month, to keep me happy till I can get my first order of the real stuff.

I drink mine pretty strong about 1.5 or 2 to 1. I tried 3 to 1 and did not like it at all.

But this is just my $0.02.

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Everybody has their preferences. Do you use sugar? It makes a world of difference. I can't see myself drinking absinthe without it. Others (G&C and Absomphe leap to mind) never use sugar. Also, preparation makes a difference as well. If you haven't already, have a look over here for proper preparation instructions. Adding very cold water very slowly is the key.

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Hiram..Yes I use sugar, and I do use cold water.

I usually try to put my water container with some ice cube in the frig to chill a bit before I make a drink. I then drip some water on the sugar cube and let it set for a bit till it starts to dissolve and starts to drip in the glass. I then start to drip the water on the sugar, sometimes slower that others I need to look at getting a fountain, till I have the proportions I want. You are right about the cold water, it definitely taste better the colder it is.

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Ritual is for groups of people.

 

Yes I dump it in, but I let it set for a few minutes before enjoyment.

 

the way I figure it is the chemical reaction is going to take place at the same rate, regardless of how quickly the reactants are added. (I think that's right, but I never paid very good attention in my college chem class, I just focused on how boring it was)

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We're talking about emulsification with water and oil here.

 

Try this experiment:

 

Part 1. Put a half cup of vinegar in a big metal bowl. Then put in a cup of olive oil. Then whisk the hell out of it for as long as you like.

 

Part 2. Put a half cup of vinegar in a big metal bowl. Then add a cup of olive oil very slowly‚—drizzling a tiny, thin stream of oil into the vinegar while whisking vigorously. *

 

Guess which one will be creamy and smooth and stay that way for months?

Guess which one will separate in a matter of seconds, no matter what you do?

 

 

 

*Use balsamic vinegar and add 1 tsp of basil, .25 tsp oregano, .25 tsp of rosemary, .25 tsp of fresh, coarse-ground black pepper, .5 tsp of sugar, .5 tsp salt for Hiram's Kickass Vinaigrette Salad Dressing.

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Hmm, interesting point, hiram.

 

Why don't you try this then:

 

One slowly louched glass of whatever absinthe you want

One fast louched glass of same absinthe, let to set as long as the slow louche.

 

You won't taste much difference, if at all.

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