Absinthe makes the liver grow fonder

For my entire life, (and yours as well, I’m sure), I’ve been subjected to the atrocities of an unjust war.

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.

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

shake with ice and strain
into an 8oz Collins glass
top with soda




Picture taken by:
Jamie Boudreau

~ by Jamie Boudreau on June 16, 2007.

10 Responses to “Absinthe makes the liver grow fonder”

  1. jamie, what is different about Lucid that the LBC decided it was legit and not illegal? also the bottle is pretty scary.

  2. Jamie, what kind of spirit serves as the base for Jade Edouard?

  3. Jamie, I believe Jade absinthes are wine based making Lucid a different offering, altogether.

  4. Mark,
    I’m pretty sure that the Jade products use grape-based alcohol as a base, but the differences do not stop there. While beet neutral spirits will definitily have a different mouth-feel from grape neutral spirits, I doubt that it contributes much to the taste, given all the other ingredients involved.

    My understanding is that the US government is starting to adapt laws that are more in line with the EU. This means that absinthes with a thujone count of less than 10mg/L will be allowed in. Keep in mind that there is room for error in the testing, and some of the newly allowed absinthe will have slightly more thujone. Also, there is a good chance that absinthe might be allowed in under the heading of “bitters”, allowing thujone of up to 35 mg/L.
    Having said all that, let’s keep in mind that absinthe is not about thujone, but about good, complex, balanced flavors.

  5. Jamie,
    Consider this — All Jade absinthes, up to now are grape-based. The signature of Jade absinthes is it’s “Haut Gout” or “HOGO” which is Jade’s characteristic funky aroma.
    During the phyloxera blight in 1860’s France, manufacturers were forced to use alcohol industriel made from beets and cereal. This base requires two distillations as opposed to one for grape-based ethanol. The different flavor profile is immense to say the least. In my opinion, for what it’s worth, this fact would contribute more to the flavor profile than all the other ingredients involved.
    I am very curious to taste Lucid for myself. It might have been designed as a cocktail ingredient rather than as the ritual that the absenteur lives for.

  6. the Sea Fizz — 2 oz of abinthe!! WOW
    I hope there is a limit of one to a customer.
    Still, it sounds tasty.

  7. I have to agree with the ugly Lucid bottle comment, I can’t say enough how stupid this bottle is – it’s almost disappointing to see Ted’s absinthe in a goofy cat bottle – it has 0 class. I should hope they will rethink the design and make a truly classy bottle instead.

  8. […] by our good friend, Ted Breaux, has also been mentioned in previous posts, and while it is quite tasty for its price point, I feel that my Canadian friend has come up with a […]

  9. the more expensive absinthes are in grape alcohol(wine) base and yes, thujone DOES play an important part in real-deal absinthe reverie . . .

  10. My husband and I had a glass of Lucid this evening, it’s really good. I think the bottle being dark is a good idea, considering the Absinthe should be kept in a dark place anyway to protect it’s contents. Not interested about all the gabbing on decor of the bottle. it’s what’s inside right?

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