Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More on Absinthe

There was only one Absinthe exhibited at the WSWA show (Mythe) and we were quite surprised at the dominance of licorice in the flavor profile. The folks there told us that the category is being consumed not only with the two rituals, but also as shots, mixed with Red Bull, and a depth charge in beer (A-Bomb). I think we’re gonna see this new generation of absinthe drinkers take ownership of the category in ways even our most creative mixologist friends like Robert Plotkin, Tony Abou-Ganim and Brian Van Flandern can’t even imagine. Ah, to be young again! But seriously folks, I think we’re going to find better acceptance of the authentic “Bohemian” style. It’s inherently more mixable because it doesn’t hit you in the nose with a 2 x 4 of licorice flavor. Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

OK maybe I'm a bit behind but I thought Absinthe was illegal in the US - or is the Absinthe your mentioning a 'watered down' version like the fake Ouzo we get in the US?

Steve Raye said...

Absinthe was approved for sale in the U.S. by the TTB in October. and what was approved was "real" absinthe, meaning made from Grand Wormwood (Artemesia abesnthia) which is what contributes the thujone, a component that was mistakenly considered hallucinogenic. In realtiy, the levels of thujone permitted now (10PPM in the U.S., 35PPM in Europe) are so low that you'd end up with alcohol poisoning vefore any impact from the thujone. See the post on Liquor Snob

Dale Sklar said...

Up front, I declare my 'interest' as brand owner of an absinthe brand (but not yet imported into the US).
It's been an interesting few years watching the USA waver between outright prohibition of Absinthe, with apparently thousands of bottles of Absinthe travelling by airmail from Europe to passionate US buyers ; to allowing 'ersatz absinthe' produced without the 'essential component' which distinguishes Absinthe from Pastis, Ouzo,Rake, Mastika, Arrack, etc, viz the plant known as 'wormwood' (Artemisia absintheum). And now finally 'real' absinthe containing Wormwood is permitted, providing the level of Thujone (the alleged psychotropic drug derrived from Wormwood) is below 10 parts per million, and providing there's no mention of Thujone on the label, nor mention of 'Green Fairies' etc !
Still probably the greatest collectors of Absinthe artefacts and antiques are in the USA, and to a European (at least this one) it's extraordinary to see the passion, sometimes leading to some quite vitriolic exchanges on blogs from absinthe lovers... Much of the blog debates which absinthe is the 'closest / truest' to pre-prohibition absinthe, which for some is clearly very important. In reality, probably no one knows what absinthe tasted like back in France in 1916, as even the best preserved samples remaining must have changed over the years, and what we taste today would have looked and tasted different from when it was made 90 years ago.

Marketers are used to the concept of 'nothing new under the sun' but here's a drinks category that's re-emerged back on to the scene, and it's great to be a part of the revival of one of Europe's (as well as New Orleans) most controversal liquors.

Dale L. Sklar