Absinthe makes the liver grow fonder
The war I speak of is the nonsensical war our liquor control board wages upon us as it decides which spirits we are and are not allowed to purchase and consume. Whether it be that certain bottle of (insert spirit here) that you’ve seen in every other state, or the fact that the LCB just doesn’t order enough of a common product (read Hendrick’s gin, Plymouth gin, Woodford Reserve, El Jimador tequila, and Clear Creek grappa for me this week), and yet will not allow you to go to another source to acquire said product, it seems Big Brother seems to always know what’s best for us (even though we all know they don’t know their head from their ass).
One of the longest fought wars against us, the consumer, has been with that most mystical of spirits: absinthe. We’ve always been able to get pastis, but like Lindsay Lohan, it’s just a less glamorous, less interesting version of what you really want (read Scarlett Johansson)
I’m not going to bore you with the history of absinthe and its ban, or address the many myths (most of them false) that surround this heavily romanticized spirit, as this information is easily found on the web. A site I highly recommend when it comes to all things absinthe-related is The Wormwood Society. This is a site run by passionate people who have all the facts straight, and is a must read.
Well, the revolution has won a small battle with the arrival of Lucid, America’s first absinthe. Lucid comes from the wormwood riddled brain of Ted Breaux, a New Orleans native who has been doing us all a service by creating quality absinthes in France. While Lucid, may not be as complex as some of his other creations (Jade Edouard comes to mind) it is tasty, relatively cheap and available, legally, in the United States. I’ll get on to the tasting notes of this product in a minute, but let me state what I think is the most important point of this product’s arrival: the genie has been let out of the bottle. It can only be a matter of time before the United States completely lifts this ridiculous ban on absinthe and we are awash in viridian. Finally, I will be able to taste first hand all of those early cocktails that called for absinthe and even be able to choose which absinthe will go better with which cocktail…has the Green Muse already addled my brain?
The first thing that one may notice as soon as one gets Lucid, is how remarkably ugly the bottle is. It is obviously marketed for the nightclub set, which right away made me suspicious of the product inside. One thing that did strike me about the packaging, however, was the fact that they felt the need to announce that the absinthe was derived from beet neutral grain spirit. It’s odd to me that they felt the need to point this out.
Overall, I enjoyed Lucid. It was herbaceous, and minty with sweet fennel and a slight bitterness in the finish that comes from wormwood. Pale green in color, this absinthe louched quite a bit later than I usually like, but I found that if you stop adding water while there is still a little ring of dark green floating on the top, the absinthe won’t get too watered down. Lucid, by itself, is quite sweet, so I didn’t feel the need to add sugar, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether or not sugar is a welcome addition. While I’ll drink the Edouard on its own, Lucid, given its flavor and price point is a great product for mixing cocktails with.
Below I’ve added a couple of cocktails that work well with Lucid. Obviously there are many more (Sazerac, etc), but I wanted you to try something a little more obscure.
DEPTH CHARGE COCKTAIL
1 oz gin
1 oz Lillet
2 dashes Absinthe
orange peel garnish
stir, strain into cocktail glass
(1934, Patrick Gavin Duffy, NY)
2 oz absinthe
½ oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 egg white
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