Absinthe is Legal and BevMo's Got It
A piece written while inebriating oneself with absinthe. Read on as Elise test-tastes these fabulous absinthes...with interesting results!
For many years people have believed that wormwood, or specifically the chemical thujone, found in wormwood, drove people mad. Because of this popular misconception, absinthe has been banned in the United States since 1912. Popular during the 19th century, absinthe inspired famous works by poets and painters alike. Absinthe has seen a recent resurgence in popularity and has been quietly purchased online from websites like absinthe-suisse.com.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - Earlier this year, a lone Washington, D.C., lawyer took on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau in an attempt to lift the ban. After some legal wrangling, the agency agreed - with some limits. Last week, St. George Spirits of Alameda received the news that, after seven applications, the federal agency had approved its label, the final obstacle before going to market. On Monday, the small artisan distillery sold its token first bottle, becoming the only American company since 1912 to sell absinthe in the United States. Then the staff took a moment to celebrate.
"We made champagne and absinthe cocktails, which rapidly degenerated into just sipping absinthe out of the bottle with crazy straws," said Lance Winters, a 42-year-old master distiller at the seven-employee company.
- SF Chronicle
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is willing to accept absinthe formulas that fall under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. These regulations require that the drink contain no more than 10 parts per million of the chemical thujone. In addition, the word absinthe on the bottle's label has to be small and used with a qualifier like "St. George's Verte" or "Kubler's Swiss Absinthe Superieure."
More notable than the wormwood is absinthe's high alcohol content, typically 120 proof or more, about 50 percent higher than vodka and whiskey. There are four absinthes approved for import right now - two Kublers, Lucid, and Green Moon. There is some controversy over Green Moon being described as a a Vodka - Absinthe Essence*. Hangar One is still waiting for label approval.
It turns out that even vintage absinthes contain less than the allowable amount of thuojone, making it legal to sell and serve Absinthe. There are already several bars and restaurants in LA that serve Absinthe cocktails, using Lucid Absinthe. BevMo is selling Kubler and Lucid. Kubler is the first genuine Swiss absinthe to be sold in this country in nearly 100 years. It comes from the Val-de-Travers where absinthe was invented in the late 19th century and it is produced according to the original formula. It is anticipated they will start selling the Kubler 53 and let it build momentum before confusing the public with multiple similar products (Wormwood Society).
* Green Moon: Our absinthe is an alluring fusion of wormwood, star anise, green anise, fruit barks, fennel and citrus - topped with touch of honey. These intoxicating ingredients are then aged for no less than nine months to ensure its signature velvety smooth taste.
Try and stay with me as I taste test a few available bottles:
People who know their absinthe claim that everything coming out of the Czech Republic is total shit. But all of the absinthe I found in Paris was made in the Czech Republic. I'm not sure how this particular bottle mysteriously ended up back in the States, but here it is. It has a muted antifreeze shade to it and smeels strongly of licorice.
Drinking a Straight Shot: Someone once told me absinthe reminded them of Grain alcohol mixed with Good n Plenty candy. This is exactly right. There is an unpleasant lingering aftertaste, a little bitter, and a little like something you would put in a radiator.
OK, let me check out the next one... I bought this at BevMo, but it's not Kubler or lucid. at leastb it diesnt say lucid on it. who would name this stuff lucid? It's French. and its 112I'm ummm 11o proof. wow.
its forcalquier from distilleries and domains de provence, It comes in a nice gift box decorated with poppies and with a spoon attached. Poppies? What else is in this stuff?
Drinking a Straight Shot: It is a much paler green, with a dark, black licorice boquet. oh my God! It felt like the fumes went straight up my nose into my brain. My brain is burning. wow. at least it doesn;t taste like grain alcohol or have a nasty aftertaste. But I feel immediately high. this box has a naked green fairy on it and she has belly rolls, so i love her. I just made a noise like wehohhh. Maybe I should stop taking shots of this one. I think there is such a high alcohol content I am not even swallowing it, but it is being immediately evaporated straight up my nasal passages into my brain.
KublerOK, why stop now? The much-lau8ded Kubler! Distille au val-de-travers neuchatel -almost like the cheese. Suisse. Also like the cheese. imported in texas. there is no cheese called texas. 106 proof. wow. since 1863. "Yves Kubler personally stands up for the quality of this genuinely comparable experience". So if you have any problems with this post, go see that guy. In Switzereland. Or maybe Texas. The label is not too clear about that.
Drinking a Straight Shot: Noce corked bottled. Complicated boquet. Not just licorice. barely any licorice at all. Coriander? Fennel? There's the anise. Oh my god, what the fuck? Aaaaak. It s= definitelt not black licorice candy. Its = rubbing alcohol, some weird herb I can;t place - like Ricola - og god it tastes like burning. It;s burning my lips off. it's like napalm. maybe I am going to go blind.
Maybe I should not have started with the shots. Let me try the nice, ciovilized sugar water.
Mixed Kubler: With the sugar water this one is pretty good - no taste at all. maybe that is what they are going for.
Mixed French forcololquier: I really like this one mixed. i could drink this one all night.its sweeter and kro more like ouzo.. pklus, I saw the green fairy that time. did you see her?
czech stuff mixed- i decided lying a lamp down to get good light near water pouring was not wise, so that time i was watching the pour more closely. but i couldnt see the green fairuy. the absinthe wouldnt turn milky. then i realized that instead of the water i was pouring one of the other absinthes into this absinthe by mistake.
so final score: Frenchy Ansinthe wins, followed by Kubler withj czech stuff at the back of the line. unless we;'re doing shots. Of course i have yet to taste my new swiss-czech mix i just invented. Chech's mix. Mmmm. that one is good. i can drink a lot of this. this can only end badly.
Did you see the guy ladyfooting it in the YOUTUBE video? Watering down the absinthe THREE more timess? What a pussy. When you see the green fairy and the absinthe gets milky, go for it. We drank straight shots at my last new years party. no wonder mpeople went naked in the moonbouncer.
Is it getting hot in here? Do you feel hot? The chex-swiss kubla ross mix is good. Oh man, my keyboard is all sticky now. mY LIPS ARE ALL NUMB.
Sources: An article a pirate from new orleans sent me by somebody names nancy somethin or other and some boards with these guys.
Or you can justy buy the tshirt.
(Photos and second video by, FOR, AND OF Elise)