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Brian Robinson

The Little Green Book of Absinthe

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An experienced absintheur can identify a brand from across the room just by watching how it louches-the way the herbs' oils cloud the drink as the bartender adds water

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

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The problem with that is that he'd have to show up here again to do it...and you just know his explanation would be pure :poop: , as usual. :rolleyes:

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:laf: Let's call his bluff and see if he can. :devil:

I seem to recall that he emphatically stated that he was not an expert on several occasions.

 

Wait a second. I'm experiencing cognitive dissonance...

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I found this review on The Little Green Book of Absinthe..

 

Once-banned absinthe, the drink said to inspire the muse of artists, writers and revolutionaries is, after a century underground, worming its way back into popular culture.

 

Initially a medicinal tonic, the current incarnation is made from a mixture of herbs, including green anise (this gives it a licorice flavor and its color), fennel (more licorice) and grade wormwood ("contributes the bitterness and controversy").

 

Wormwood contains a neurotoxin, thujone, that can cause "seizures, hallucinations and brain damage," the authors write, and in high doses is lethal. But absinthe contains very little of it.

 

"Any danger in absinthe comes from alcohol, not poisonous plants."

 

Aficionados Paul Owens and Paul Nathan have written an entertaining and enlightening history of this drink once thought "so dangerous that the United States banned it in 1912, four years before cocaine and heroin." (Nathan is said to be the only American ever busted for possessing it.) They have also included a plethora of contemporary recipes from the famous (infamous in absinthe circles) Las Vegas bartender Dave Herlong.

 

In its heyday, the drink made quite an impression on the French Impressionists. The louche (the swirling cloud of yellow that is released by the oils when absinthe is properly mixed with water) is said to have inspired Van Gogh.

 

It was also a favorite of writer Ernest Hemingway, who referred to it in many of his stories.

 

A reference in "For Whom The Bell Tolls" includes this passage: ... of all things he had enjoyed and forgotten and that came back to him when he tasted that opaque, bitter, tongue-numbing, brain-warming, stomach-warming, idea-changing liquid alchemy.

 

So, if you want to impress your friends, pick up a copy of this little book. You could make them a "Death in the Afternoon" (from the eponymous Hemingway novel) or prepare them for the links with an "Arnold Palmer's French Caddy." Who knows? It might improve their game.

 

Edited by oglala56

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Yeah, saw that yesterday.

 

(Nathan is said to be the only American ever busted for possessing it.)

Paul REALLY loves to play the bad boy card doesn't he? He has to let everyone know he got busted.

 

As a point of clarification, he didn't get busted for posessing it, he got busted for selling untaxed alcohol, which is what he, in effect, was doing when he was selling tickets to those crapsinthe parties.

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An experienced absintheur can identify a brand from across the room just by watching how it louches-the way the herbs' oils cloud the drink as the bartender adds water

 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

 

Are you saying that you can't tell the difference between brands from across the room? I really doubt that.

 

Lets say you are at an absinthe party. The host has gone to Bevmo and grabbed a selection of absinthe. Since the host knows that you are into absinthe she calls you for some suggestions. You suggest that she gets a few brands representing the various main styles of absinthe. Kübler or La Clandestine for the Swiss style, La Fee for the French style (I know you would never recommend La Fee, I'm just teasing you), and St. George because it is made right here in the good ole US of A.

 

I will bet a hundred dollars that you could get four out of five right from across the room, in low light, after a few drinks.

 

The absinthe bar in Amsterdam has about 8 different brands at any given time. Usually a couple of French brands, a couple of Swiss brands, a German brand, and a couple of Czech brands (I know you would not call it absinthe - but you would certainly recognize it from across the room by the lack of louche). Once again... I would be surprised if most of the enthusiast who frequent this forum missed more than one or two.

 

Well that's not much of a challenge you say... How about if you line up five brands that louche exactly alike. Sure you can stump me. Sure I can stump you. My point in writing this was simply that once you get to know a bit about absinthe the differences in the louche are very obvious and easy to identify. It was meant to be exciting and encouraging to new comers.

 

Here is a nice article with videos showing how the different brands and different styles look when they louche

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There are definitely a couple with some very distinct louches. St. George comes to mind, as does Pacifique.

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But I can bet if I put 10 similarly colored vertes, you wouldn't be able to pick them out as easily.

 

If you came to my bar, I'm pretty sure you couldn't guess any of them.

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I read your website post Paul. Listing LTV as a "traditional" french absinthe? What is traditional about it? I really want to know because I have never tasted any traditional french absinthe, pre-ban or modern, that tastes like Le Tourment Verte.

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Yeah, saw that yesterday.

 

(Nathan is said to be the only American ever busted for possessing it.)

Paul REALLY loves to play the bad boy card doesn't he? He has to let everyone know he got busted.

 

As a point of clarification, he didn't get busted for posessing it, he got busted for selling untaxed alcohol, which is what he, in effect, was doing when he was selling tickets to those crapsinthe parties.

 

Actually Brian you are completely wrong. The main absinthe related charge was selling a poisonous substance in alcohol. A charge that I found ironic since alcohol is poison. The law says that it is incumbent upon the accused to prove that what they are selling is safe. At that time there was ample evidence (in the form of thousands of liters per year sold around the world without incident) that the drinks we had on offer were safe. I was very much looking forward to taking it to trial as it could have been an end to the ban.

 

Brian, why do you refer to the parties as Crapsinthe parties? Were you there? No you weren't. If you were you would not denigrate them. They were fantastic parties unlike anything anywhere else. Beyond the amazing entertainment, interesting art and decor, and fantastic crowds there was a zeitgeist that made people feel as though they were experiencing something wonderful and special. You have insulted that particular event on a number of occasions. I don't know if it is jealousy, poor manners, or just plain mean spiritedness but it really is rude.

 

I don't insult you. I have asked in the past that you keep your comments civil. This little barb is no slap in the face but it is petty and uncalled for.

 

I will be having an absinthe party next month to celebrate the book release. You are invited Brian. I'll buy you a drink and give you a much needed hug. Then if you like you can take me out back and punch me until your unwarranted anger is sated or until I'm bled out. I would prefer that over the constant rude comments usually made when you think I am not in the room.

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But I can bet if I put 10 similarly colored vertes, you wouldn't be able to pick them out as easily.

Agreed. Personally speaking, that is.

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I read your website post Paul. Listing LTV as a "traditional" french absinthe? What is traditional about it? I really want to know because I have never tasted any traditional french absinthe, pre-ban or modern, that tastes like Le Tourment Verte.

 

I don't think I have ever referred to LTV as a traditional French absinthe. If I did than I apologize for mis-stating. Absintheology.com offers a page on our site to any maker who wants to put up their own description of their product. It's strictly a marketing position page. The idea was that it would give our readers a chance to see what the brands had to say for themselves. At that time LTV was positioning itself as a traditional French absinthe. I don't know if that is still their position or not. I never called them that. To my mind they stand out as very non-traditional. I applaud the makers for taking a risk and trying something exciting and new. They are one of the top sellers in the US market today so they seem to have come up with a taste that appeals to the American palate.

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This little barb is no slap in the face but it is petty and uncalled for.

It was too insignificant to even be called a little barb. Stop baiting.

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But I can bet if I put 10 similarly colored vertes, you wouldn't be able to pick them out as easily.

 

If you came to my bar, I'm pretty sure you couldn't guess any of them.

 

I believe I said as much in my reply.

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Brian, why do you refer to the parties as Crapsinthe parties? Were you there? No you weren't.
But I know the brands who were sponsoring the events.

 

I don't insult you. I have asked in the past that you keep your comments civil.
I think I've been quite civil in the past. I just don't talk in circles, like you do.

 

I will be having an absinthe party next month to celebrate the book release. You are invited Brian. I'll buy you a drink and give you a much needed hug. Then if you like you can take me out back and punch me until your unwarranted anger is sated or until I'm bled out. I would prefer that over the constant rude comments usually made when you think I am not in the room.
I'm more than happy to attend. But I'm not paying my own way out there. ;)

 

I don't need a hug. And I'm not angry at anything. You do absinthe education an injustice. Plain and simple.

 

Do you really think I didn't expect that the moment I posted the thread about your book, you'd be showing up? Give me a break. I knew you'd be here within a day. I've said everything I need to say when I know you're here.

 

 

I believe I said as much in my reply.

But what you say in here and what you say in your publicity are two different things. That doesn't surprise me one bit.

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Ahem.

 

We want to thank everyone who made our first season such a huge success. Including the fine folks at Le Tourment Vert who made sure that everyone got a taste of America's first cocktailabsinthe.

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Oh, and this too:

 

I've seen people setting fire to sugar soaked in absinthe is that traditional?

 

Not exactly! The French certainly did occasionally set fire to the sugar cube in the 19th century. Much the same as some bartenders will light a cognac on fire today. The ritual really took hold about fifty years ago in what is now The Czech Republic. It's become so popular that now a number of absinthes are formulated to be "ritulized". For instance, Tabu absinthes are made to be burned. I have met with them and they assure me that they formulate the absinth so that it will taste better with just a hint of caramelized sugar added. They sure do it right. Tabu Strong is one of our favorites. It has just a hint of chocolate and a deep, thick louche like nothing else on the market.

 

Wonderfully informative.

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Paul, I'm not going to dance around this: you're full of shit.

 

What you do to absinthe is rude. If you want to be treated civilly, don't piss on our backs and tell us it's raining.

 

An experienced absintheur can identify a brand from across the room just by watching how it louches-the way the herbs' oils cloud the drink as the bartender adds water

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I will bet a hundred dollars that you could get four out of five right from across the room, in low light, after a few drinks.
And I'll bet five hundred that if I pour five real vertes, you couldn't get four out of five right, in full daylight, stone cold sober.

 

I believe I said as much in my reply.

 

And yet:

An experienced absintheur can identify a brand from across the room

So if you're not an experienced absintheur, what the fuck are you doing writing books about it?

They are one of the top sellers in the US market today so they seem to have come up with a taste that appeals to the American palate.

"One of" the top sellers is meaningless. They haven't come up with a taste that appeals to "the American palate," they've spent many hundreds of thousands on slick (and sometimes unethical) marketing and positioning that merely suggests that. The reviews on LTV (not just here, and not just experienced absintheurs) say otherwise.

 

the famous (infamous in absinthe circles) Las Vegas bartender Dave Herlong.

Dave is neither famous nor infamous. I met him when I was in Vegas, sat down with him, and tasted his drinks. He's a nice guy and sincere, and does make a good drink, but let's get this straight: LTV paid him to create drinks for their specific product, which was strategically placed in the N9NE Group's properties. Period. That's all. The same way Paris Hilton was paid to attend said properties and drink said product.

 

In terms of your involvement with absinthe, you're the epitome of the term poser. You're a carny riding the coat-tails of a fad, and your target audience is any rube gullible enough to be taken in by your pitch.

 

It shows in your writing, your videos and the lame-ass spin you spew any time someone points out the foolishness of your statements (such as the "across the room" assertion) and the errors in the superficial skimming that you substitute for "research."

 

Everything you've done on absinthe to date has been for mercenary reasons, and you consistently ally yourself with brands and companies who share these traits. I'm not sure why, because you have talents that could have been applied to genuinely helping the absinthe cause, instead of propping up bogus brands created by companies instead of distillers. But then, that's where the big bucks are, isn't it?

 

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Are you saying that you can't tell the difference between brands from across the room? I really doubt that.

 

Lets say you are at an absinthe party. The host has gone to Bevmo and grabbed a selection of absinthe. Since the host knows that you are into absinthe she calls you for some suggestions. You suggest that she gets a few brands representing the various main styles of absinthe. Kübler or La Clandestine for the Swiss style, La Fee for the French style (I know you would never recommend La Fee, I'm just teasing you), and St. George because it is made right here in the good ole US of A.

 

I will bet a hundred dollars that you could get four out of five right from across the room, in low light, after a few drinks.

You listed four absinthes. that circumstance I very well might be able to get the La Fee and St. George correct if I knew what absinthes were going to be poured in advance, and have a 50/50 shot of getting the blanches correct. And by colour, not by louche action, which has a lot to do with the temperatures of the liquids that are combining and other factors.

 

However, that is not the same as the blanket statement of identifying a brand by louche across the room. You're adding conditions that make it considerably easier. Knowing the brands ahead of time, having only a few possible choices, and only some of them being vertes. Blanches are almost always impossible to tell apart by appearance. Vertes can be easier if you already have the advantage of a set of names to match them to.

 

But how about having 15 or 20 brands like there often is when I go to absinthe events. I walk into an event, don't see a bottle, and someone is louching an absinthe under a fountain. I might be able to tell what it is by smell, but definitely not by appearance unless it's something wacky like Jacques Senaux Black.

 

I challenge anyone on the face of the Earth to correctly identify four out of five blanches by their louche action alone, without the benefit of colour, and without the benefit of knowing the names of the brands and thereby having a shot at just lucky guessing.

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