Making Absinthe At Home With A Starter Kit

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Categories : BlogHerbs & Seeds

Homemade absinthe


It is not often a drink can bring about so much controversy. After a blanket ban lasting nearly a decade and links to multiple deaths. Is absinthe really as sinister as it is made out to be?

The origins of absinthe are shrouded in a green haze of murder, mystery, and hallucinogenic fables. Because of this, it is often thought of as a drink only for the truly brave of heart. The simple fact is that despite is turbulent history, it is no more dangerous than any of the regular spirits widely available today. Now that a blanket ban on absinthe has been lifted some of the stigma surrounding our fair “Green Fairy” has also started to dissipate. With such a stigma being lifted there is no better time to try this illustrious green liquid.

If, however, you are still unsure given absinthes shady past, allow us to dispel some of those myths. We will explore the history of absinthe, the effects (hallucination not included) and how to enjoy such a tipple from your very own living room.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ABSINTHE

Absinthes rocky journey through life would start at the end of the eighteenth century. Invented by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor. His intentions were pure, using the extract of the wormwood plant to produce healing tonics. Yet like an awful lot of intentions in life, the end result can differ widely. Bought from Mr. Ordinaire, commercial production began in 1797. A man named Major Dubied and his son-in-law began producing it in Switzerland. Success did not take long to escalate with Major Dubied bringing the spirit back over to France. He was soon ramping up to full-scale production by the early eighteen hundreds.

Absinthe history

At the turn of the 1850's our green fairy had broken into the elite mainstream. Aristocrats everywhere were soon swooning over the alluring bright green liquid. Poets, writers, and artists from across France would often use absinthe to provide that sought after creative inspiration. It was only a matter of time before the same approach was adopted by the masses. No sooner then it was enjoyed as a creative pick me up it was now considered the tipple of choice throughout the day. Looking back now it is not hard to see how a spirit with an alcohol content between 55%-75% (110 to 144 proof) was destined for some troubled waters.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 1900's and a blanket ban was looming. The free and easy access to such a potent drink had been linked to a number of deaths and incidents. Sparking stories of hallucinations incurred whilst consuming absinthe, governments feared an epidemic. America and many other countries outright banned the drink. Its production, consumption, and possession were now illegal.

It is worth noting at this point that there is a particularly famous incident often thought to have tipped the scales towards that infamous ban, involving a man by the name of Jean Lanfray. Mr. Lanfray murdered his family whilst seemingly hallucinating as a result of drinking absinthe. The truth transpires that Mr. Lanfray had not only consumed absinthe, but vast amounts of other alcoholic drinks. It was, in fact, the amount of alcohol that he had consumed that lead to him killing his family, not the then claimed hallucinogenic properties of absinthe. Not technically the fault of absinthe itself.

THE EFFECTS OF ABSINTHE

GABA Thujone

The crux of the matter. Now that the ban has long since passed, is it safe to drink absinthe? And what will happen to you as a result? Traditionally distilled using anise, fennel, and wormwood, it was the wormwood that was considered the culprit in leading the nation to a realm of hallucinations. More specifically, it was the chemical compound thujone, a component of wormwood, which was bearing the brunt of the blame. Thujone acts as a GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) inhibitor. GABA blocks receptors in your brain which can, and I stress can, cause convulsions. However, even before it is distilled wormwood contains very little thujone. After the distilling process even less thujone is present. The risk to humans is almost non-existent. In fact long before the thujone would pose a risk to you, you would have died from alcohol poisoning. It just shows that like any other spirit, absinthe can be enjoyed for what it is, a unique and aromatic liquor.

MAKING YOUR OWN ABSINTHE

Now that we have dispelled any niggling doubts you may have had about absinthe its time to put the power firmly in your hands. What better way of doing this than providing you with an absinthe-making kit you can use in your own home. For anyone interested in trying absinthe this kit can provide a great opportunity to do so. Being able to try it without the risk of bringing about another prohibition!

THE KIT CONTAINS:

• The absinthe-typical thujone-containing herbs and spices
• Absinthe cocktail and long drink recipes
• Postcard-sized sticker for your absinthe bottle
• A specially designed spoon used to let melting sugar drop into the glass of absinthe just like the traditional method
• A description of the absinthe-making process
• A description of how absinthe should be enjoyed (Important)
• A storage box for keeping the herbs fresh

RECIPE

(1 kit makes 1 litre of absinthe)

1. Place the absinthe leaves provided into a bottle of high-proof vodka

2. Remove the leaves after 12-24 hours (the longer the leaves are left the stronger the aroma and taste)

3. Put all the other ingredients into the vodka

4. Leave for 5-7days, finally filtering to remove the herbs

5. Use the stickers to label up your chosen bottle

HOW TO ENJOY ABSINTHE

1. Using the specially designed spoon, place it with a sugar cube over the top of the glass you are using to drink the absinthe from

2. Drop 20-30ml of absinthe over the sugar cube into the glass

3. Light the sugar; the absinthe poured over the cube will help it to ignite and burn

4. Let the sugar burn until it is caramelized

5. Add 2-3cl of cold water

Finally, sit back, relax and let the unique aromas and taste of absinthe take you on a journey. A journey of intrigue, mystery, suspected murders. A sordid past based on nothing other than speculation and fear for this endearing “Fee Verte”, or Green Fairy to you and I.

Absinthe glass with sugar cubes

 

         
  Lucas  

Written by: Lucas
Lucas is a part-time writer and full-time visionary. An anonymous psychonaut blending into society with his suit and tie, he works to bring evidence-based rationality to the masses.

 
 
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