Absinthe

Follow @b_apothecary

This post is old and an updated version is in my Distiller’s Workbook exercise on Absinthe.

Yesterday I whipped up some “absinthe“. I have never liked the stuff and always found it over hyped so I tried to produce something that would keep my interest. My main complaint about absinthe (besides the prices!) is that anise is such a cloying dominant flavor. To get around this in my parody I thought I’d add a comparative element to the naked anise and see if I could stretch it out on the tongue. A long time ago I used this concept with strawberries but lately I’ve been enamored with the basque country Patxarian sloe berry-anise combo. I don’t have a hedge of sloes so I added sloe gin to my spirits and then got impatient and also added framboise brandy because I wanted more comparative flavor and a way to bring the alcohol content up into true absinthe territory. I used the Turkish Raki to capture the anise botanicals because I got it for free and it was 90 proof so it seemed like a good idea.

The amount of wormwood in g/L was extrapolated from other people’s large batch recipes. Yarrow and yerba-mate seemed like a good idea for wormwood comparative flavors to contrast the fruit and anise. Yarrow brings a meadowy aroma while yerba mate is slightly more foresty. I noticed many people’s formulas had coriander which is really important to London dry gins so I thought it may be a nice extra contrasting element. I probably should have added more.

All of my liquids added up to one liter but I only pulled out 750ml because I wanted to preserve the same amount of anise that was in the Raki. The additional alcohols bring the proof up to slightly less than 120.

Something that I noticed which probably adds a great layer of artisanship that most people miss is that you have to distill at only a certain reflux rate to get all the alcohol you want but not disturb the anise-alcohol-water solution. I started distilling at a really high reflux rate and took all of the alcohol off very quickly but when my temperature went up and I was trying to hit my 750 ml end volume mostly by distilling water it started to louche and my absinthe yellowed slightly. Next time I should probably do some math, look at some charts and work at a less intense reflux rate to keep my high alcohol and clarity of distillate.

750 ml turkish raki
100 ml sloe gin
150 ml framboise brandy
15 g wormwood
5 g yerba mate
5 g yarrow
2 g coriander
distilled to 750ml (115 proof or so)

Absinthe is still boring but I liked this compared to Kubler. As subtle as they are, the fruit aromatics really make it.

***update***

So I finally tasted the St. George absinthe verte and was really impressed though I was surprised by its coloring and intensely distinct aromatics relative to Kubler. I only had a taste from a really nice bartender and was not lucky enough to see it louche or not but I was surprised by the chartreuse like nature of its color. And its level of anise seemed to be lower than Kubler. The nose was pungent like a monastic liqueur and reminded me of biting into fresh basil but with more anise. The herbs make it really penetrating and antiseptic feeling but in a different way than juniper. I think I could understand the appeal of cocktails like the sazerac better if knew they were made with an absinthe that had more contrast to the anise. I think I should explore more fruit and working in a secondary infusion to my recipe. If we are thinking antiseptic, hops anyone?

Follow @b_apothecary

2 thoughts on “Absinthe

  1. http://www.beveragedaily.com/Markets/US-firm-brushes-off-Yerba-Mate-beverage-bitterness-claims-hopes-for-sparkling-growth

    this link describes the bitterness of yerba mate. i eventually went on to create an all yerba mate based absinthe whose recipe is in my new book on distillation.

    i become more familiar with yerba mate when i made replicas of the infamous hercules from the savoy.

    yerba mate might also be intriguing in dehydrated-reconstituted-kirschwasser campari recipe. i could probably infuse the kirschwasser with yerba mate and give it a nice centrifuging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close