How Absinthe is Made
What is Absinthe
Absinthe is a distilled spirit full of luscious herbs known for its sophisticated flavor. Absinthe stands out for its winsome charm and glamorous essence as a spirit. It has a distinctive flavor profile and sordid history. For many years after the ban was lifted in 2007, it was hard to find high-quality absinthe. Many were rushed to market and did not taste good or were not true absinthes. Currently, absinthe is in a renaissance period, and all kinds of people are now enjoying absinthe for its unique qualities.
Some fun facts: In the late 1700s, absinthe was used as a medicinal spirit throughout France and Switzerland.
The French lovingly referred to absinthe as La Fee Verte or the Green Fairy in English. This endearing nickname was used at the height of absinthe's popularity in the early nineteenth century.
While absinthe was banned for many years because of anti-absinthe propaganda by the French wine industry and the church, it has been reintroduced as a great companion in many cocktail recipes.
What is Absinthe Made From?
A photo of me at the distillery taste testing my new cask barrel aged absinthe!
A unique property of Absinthe is that its flavor profile stems from the Holy Trinity of herbs: anise, fennel, and wormwood. This holy trinity of herbs blends to produce absinthe's compelling flavor.
Wormwood creates the singular flavor profile that makes Absinthe particularly memorable. Known in the scientific world as Artemesia absinthium, this poignant herb contains a substance called thujone. Thujone was blamed for “absinthism,” however, modern science in the early 2000s has proven that absinthe contains no thujones because the wormwood has been distilled. I like to say that thujone is fake news.
Most notably, the combination that provides a licorice overtone comes from aniseed and fennel. Strengthened by the bitter addition of wormwood, absinthe's vibrant flavor is created when these ingredients collide. Absinthe has a smooth, delicate, and floral taste when distilled properly.
My Absinthe Absinthia Absinthe is based on vintage Swiss recipes and relies on organic ingredients grown in California and Oregon.
How is Absinthe Made?
Brad Plummer, founder of Coastal Spirits, bottling my new cask barrel aged absinthe!
To make absinthe the holy trinity of herbs - wormwood, anise, and fennel - is distilled with an alcohol base. I use a grape neutral spirit. During the distillation process, the liquid becomes packed with the herbs' characteristics and oils, causing the herbs to discharge their essence.
The distiller then reduces the liquid down to whatever proof the absinthe is supposed to be. Absinthe at this step in the process is a clear or transparent color. This can be bottled as an absinthe blanche, and louches a pretty milky blue-white.
The next step is to add more herbs to the spirit and allow the chlorophyll from the leaves to brighten the color, also known as maceration. I liken this process to steeping tea because the herbs colorize and flavor the liquid. This process is how absinthe gets its memorable green color.
Absinthe is a lush and full-bodied spirit. It is distilled from freshly dried and organic herbs that I've selected with care. I produce my absinthe using the vintage Swiss recipe and work with a local artisan distiller, Brad Plummer, founder of Coastal Spirits. Brad is an award winning gin distiller. Did you know that Gin and Absinthe have similar distilling processes? Brad masterfully distills and supervises the absinthe distilling process. He ensures the quality of each batch of absinthe, plus he’s a fantastic person to work with.
I'm proud to announce my newest absinthe addition - cask barrel aged for 6 months in American Oak with light filtering only using all natural (non synthetic) filter media cellulose, diatomaceous earth. This absinthe has a vanilla and creamy flavor profile with a mellow character. Perfect for cocktails or sipping alone with a splash of water. Look for this exciting new addition of absinthe in my shop mid-February 2022!
Are you ready to add absinthe to your home bar collection? Grab a bottle of my handcrafted Absinthe here.
And be sure to check out my library of Absinthe Cocktail Recipes.
Looking for the flavor of absinthe without the alcohol? Try my small-batch handcrafted syrup Fairy Dust with a splash of lemon juice topped with seltzer.
My love of absinthe inspired Fairy Dust - learn more about its origin story in this blog post. Order a bottle for your home bar here.
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