Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Coralyne

California neophyte, checking in...

Recommended Posts

Hi! Just registered the other day and figured I might as well de-lurk. I found this forum in the midst of an enthusiastic Googling spree embarked upon after watching the "Absinthe" documentary on Netflix. Thus far I must say that I'm impressed with the quality of content here at WS (the lack of "TRIP BALLZ!!" nonsense is refreshing, for one!), both in what I've seen of the forums and in the various informational resources folks have clearly spent a fair bit of time putting together.

 

As for who the heck I am...well, I'm a ladynerd residing in the SF Bay Area with my significant other and our quartet of spoiled felines. I work as an engineer and have far too many hobbies (painting, electronics, amateur carpentry, woodcarving, gardening, photography, etc., etc.).

 

All that said, I must confess I've yet to actually try absinthe -- but hopefully that will not be the case for much longer. I'm intensely curious, partly due to the nifty aesthetics of the preparation process, but mainly because it just sounds ridiculously tasty. Anise and fancy bitter-herbal flavors are pretty much my favorite flavors in the world (well, other than dark chocolate and coffee, but that's a whole other culinary vector) which suggests to me that absinthe could well be right up my alley, so to speak.

 

The only thing making me a bit nervous is the fact that despite my inclination toward intense and unusual flavors in foods and whatnot, I'm not much of a drinker. I only ever drink any alcoholic beverage for the taste, and I'd rather only taste whatever it is I'm drinking on the way down (as opposed to the other direction). So I'm going to have to be careful, but in any case, I look forward to what is sure to be an adventure in deliciousness. And you can rest assured said adventure will NOT involve setting anything on fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and Welcome!

 

:cheers: I believe you will find with moderation absinthes effect is very pleasant.

the front page has a very nice dilution matrix that is very worth the time to look at.

Edited by Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the friendly welcome, folks!

 

I didn't actually expect I'd be posting this update this soon, but as luck would have it...the following exchange happened earlier this evening:

 

Boyfriend: "Hey, you feel like maybe finding some absinthe?"

 

Me: "YES."

 

So, off to BevMo we went (as it was one of the few places I'd read was likely to have anything in stock locally). They ended up having a fair number of brands, the majority of which had that "neon mouthwash" look. The only worthwhile-looking options were Lucid and La Clandestine. I wanted to try a verte first so I went with the Lucid (the bottle also reminded me of one of my cats, who is now chilling out in my avatar :) ).

 

Anyhow, though...bottom line: I like it! A lot. The SO was less impressed, but he's not nearly as much of an anise fan as I am, which just means more for me. :P.

 

The whole process of setting up the drink was also a lot of fun, albeit a bit more awkward than I'd been envisioning -- I didn't have an actual spoon-thing and ended up having to substitute a tea strainer and then we couldn't find anything to drip water in slowly that didn't also want to spill all over the counter. We did manage to achieve louching action, though: it started sort of slow, with oil-swirly bits becoming visible first, and then (due mainly perhaps to ungraceful water drippage) seemed to go opaque very quickly a few seconds later.

 

One interesting thing I noticed was that upon opening the bottle and smelling the contents pre-louche, it was a lot less "complicated" than it ended up being after the water was added. More straight-up anise. The herbal complexity (which was there for sure, even though I know from reading reviews that Lucid isn't the most complex thing out there) seemed to also continue to develop for quite a while after the water was added. The bitterness was fairly subtle but lovely and also took a few minutes to really poke out over the anise-ness.

 

Needless to say, I made every effort to savor my glass. But it was still gone sooner than I'd have liked! Holy wow, that was good, and I think enough time has passed for me to be able to safely say that no balls (other than cat toys) are liable to be tripped this evening. Given the spendiness of the bottle I don't think I'm going to immediately start acquiring a collection anytime soon, but at some point I'd definitely be interested in trying another variety or brand. I also think perhaps next time with the Lucid I'll skip the sugar. It wasn't cloyingly sweet but it was definitely a tad more than sweet enough.

 

...so, anyway, thanks again for the welcome (and good to know I'm not the only ladynerd around here) :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Off to a nice start with the Lucid.

A good store in the Bay Area (SF and Redwood cty) is K&L, they have a much better selection than Bevmo, and can even get Ridge and Pacifique!

link

 

 

Or check out the vendors on the front page. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe you will find with moderation absinthes effect is very pleasant.

 

I don't have enough experience with spirits to be able to compare effects, but I can certainly say that last night's experiment with a 1.5 oz. absinthe to 4 oz water dilution + slow, cautious sipping had very pleasant (but again, entirely non-ballz-tripping) results. :thumbup: No sickness, no running amok naked through the suburbs, just a lovely relaxing evening with couch and movie and SO and kitties. It did seem a little...different, somehow, from something like beer, but oddly familiar nonetheless, sort of reminiscent of the effect of drinking the very spicy chai-spiced tea at of the local Indian restaurants. Not that it tasted like chai, but there was a similarity in terms of that whole "invigorating tingly heat" thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome! :cheers:

 

I started out with Lucid too...it definitely gets much better from there. Be sure to grab the Clandestine when you run out of Lucid, you won't be disappointed (but I understand the desire for green.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome! You seem to be off to a nice start. Lucid was my first (real) absinthe.

 

If you like anise flavors in general I would definitely advise trying absinthe without sugar next time. You might be very surprised the difference it can make.

 

When you add water you are basically releasing many botanicals from suspension in ethanol. So the complexity will definitely open up for just about any absinthe. It's the big reason why drinking absinthe straight or lighting it on fire are taste killers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Be sure to grab the Clandestine when you run out of Lucid, you won't be disappointed

 

Yes, I was thinking of trying that one next. Thanks for the recommendation!

 

(but I understand the desire for green.)

 

Hehe, yeah, for my very first time it just had to be (properly naturally coloured) green. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Welcome! You seem to be off to a nice start. Lucid was my first (real) absinthe.

 

Thanks! I never had anything even remotely absinthe-like prior to the Lucid so I'm glad I at least managed to pick a reasonable enough representative sample.

 

If you like anise flavors in general I would definitely advise trying absinthe without sugar next time. You might be very surprised the difference it can make.

 

Oh yes, I'm definitely going no-sugar next time. The sweetness with the single sugar cube wasn't offensive, but I suspect more of the flavors I like most will "stand out" without the extra sucrose regardless. Sort of like how in general I prefer chocolate to be minimally sweetened or even unsweetened. The sugar just isn't the point!

 

When you add water you are basically releasing many botanicals from suspension in ethanol. So the complexity will definitely open up for just about any absinthe. It's the big reason why drinking absinthe straight or lighting it on fire are taste killers.

 

That makes heaps of scientific sense and certainly explains what I experienced. I watched a youtube video recently as well in which a guy was trying to do some sort of real-time absinthe review and for some reason insisted on drinking it with no water at all (and then proceeding to complain that it tasted like anise and nothing else). My guess is maybe a lot of people believe that adding water just dilutes flavor, rather than bringing it out, but clearly that is not the case here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My guess is maybe a lot of people believe that adding water just dilutes flavor, rather than bringing it out, but clearly that is not the case here!

Yes.

 

I have sipped absinthe without sugar for so long I can't remember.

 

BUT, I was once at a small event and had the great honor of sipping a couple pre ban absinthes. One with sugar and one without. I was really impressed with what the sugar brought to the drink.

 

One man (Gwydion) used the word roundth, it really seemed to fit. They were both delightful.

 

I don't ban the use of sugar in my house and even encourage the use of it if it's a person new to absinthe. I keep a bottle of simple syrup in the chill chest. I also have cubes of sugar.......somewhere. ;)

 

Yes, too much Alton Brown. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sort of like how in general I prefer chocolate to be minimally sweetened or even unsweetened. The sugar just isn't the point!

You and I seem to agree on more than a few things. :devil:

Edited by Evan Camomile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK...as of this evening I've now also tried the Lucid sans-sugar. Honestly, I couldn't detect much of a difference in sweetness, except perhaps a little bit once it had sat in the glass for a while. I guess it's fairly sweet stuff to begin with -- not at the level of being TOO sweet, mind you, just surprisingly so given the lack of added sugar. Interesting experiment, though, at any rate. I wish I hadn't over-watered it near the end but I kept wanting to make it last longer... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucid was my first as well, and not to be snobbish but I can't drink the stuff anymore :)

 

At some BevMos they will have Obsello, if you can get ahold of a bottle of that it is a huge step up in taste (imho of course), it's usually around $50 a bottle. Great stuff with some warm flavors, I've always been tempted to reduce it on the stove and pour it over ice cream but in the end I've always just drank it instead.

 

If you are willing to mail order you can get a bottle of Vieux Carre from drinkupny.com for a reasonable price, and is a solid absinthe. For another $10 you can get Vieux Pontarlier which in my own opinion is a slight step up from the Vieux Carre although both are very good. From there you can get Ridge for a few bucks more which is one of my favorites (you don't get fresher herbs than that, kids), and also if you're lucky you can get a bottle of Marteau while it's still in stock, which is not only good but uses a grape-derived base alcohol which is a good thing to taste to compare to others in the future. The guy that started this site makes Marteau, but I'm not the suck up type, so believe me I only rep it because it's good :)

 

Only other thing I would say is take it slow. Don't buy one bottle and drink it start to finish (again, imho). This stuff ages beautifully, and it will never go bad. So buy a bottle, have a glass or two (or three or four or five :D). Save it. Get a different brand, then try that. Maybe get a different one, try that. Revisit the first. Compare. Then you start to really explore the beauty of this unique beverage.

Edited by Jonathan D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Only other thing I would say is take it slow. Don't buy one bottle and drink it start to finish (again, imho). This stuff ages beautifully, and it will never go bad. So buy a bottle, have a glass or two (or three or four or five :D). Save it. Get a different brand, then try that. Maybe get a different one, try that. Revisit the first. Compare. Then you start to really explore the beauty of this unique beverage.

Yep, just like that. I couldn't agree more. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Only other thing I would say is take it slow. Don't buy one bottle and drink it start to finish (again, imho). This stuff ages beautifully, and it will never go bad. So buy a bottle, have a glass or two (or three or four or five :D). Save it. Get a different brand, then try that. Maybe get a different one, try that. Revisit the first. Compare. Then you start to really explore the beauty of this unique beverage.

 

That sounds like solid advice, and I was already thinking it would be neat to be able to compare at least a couple types side-by-side. I'm probably going to take my time choosing the next bottle given that I'm one of those weirdos who tends toward both frugality and expensive taste but the queue is definitely filling up with ideas! :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did that and it started looking like I was more of a collector than a drinker. My wife tells people I drink less now than I did ten years ago. I share more than I drink.

 

<-------- He's nuckin' futz. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome! :arrr:

 

At some level, the use of sugar is tied to genetics (taste). For some of us, absinthe is already sweet and the sugar will overpower many of the more subtle flavors, while for others, absinthe comes across as bitter and sugar will tame some of this bitterness and allow them to experience the other flavors.

Also, we have secretly replaced the term trippin ballz with holy wow. Just so you know ... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Welcome! :arrr:

 

At some level, the use of sugar is tied to genetics (taste). For some of us, absinthe is already sweet and the sugar will overpower many of the more subtle flavors, while for others, absinthe comes across as bitter and sugar will tame some of this bitterness and allow them to experience the other flavors.

 

Yeah, anything with anise tastes to me like it's already quite sweet. Not in a bad way, as I do like some sweetness, but often I don't think it needs more. That said, I'm currently plotting my first online absinthe order (which makes me feel like a sneaky teenager for some reason, despite my being 33...) and right now eyeing Ridge Verte and Pacifique, as the reviews for those both suggested something rather more complex and potentially less sweetness-forward than the Lucid.

 

 

Also, we have secretly replaced the term trippin ballz with holy wow. Just so you know ... ;)

 

Eeek! :twitchsmile: I'll have to watch my terminology, then...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×