Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To....

That's right, all of the rumors are true.

You too can actually distill Absinthe at home!!!

Our good friends over at English Russia have come up with a step by step method with all of the ingredients that you will need including an accompanying photo essay.

Homemade Absinthe is all the rage among the literary and artistic cognoscenti, especially these days. Now, for those not so cosmopolitan or bohemian enough, Absinthe was the drink that inspired, destroyed, and basically made men mad. Some notable Absinthe drinkers were Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest "Papa" Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde, Pablo Picasso, and Edgar Allen Poe, just to name a few.

So, what exactly is Absinthe??

"Absinthe is a drink that contains a high-level of alcohol, typically 68%. The most important ingredient of Absinthe is the herb wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium); it is what sets it apart from other drinks and is how it acquired its name. The essential oils in wormwood contains the chemical Thujone, which is a toxin when taken in large amounts. Thujone is said to be responsible for Absinthe's mysterious effects."

Taken from Absinthe History

Pablo Picasso’s 1901 Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto (The Absinthe Drinker)

The effects of Absinthe have been described as a "clarity" or "heightened state of mind". Drinkers of absinthe experience a double-action sort of intoxication. This intoxication combines the effects of strong alcohol and a secondary effect said to be a "clear-headed" feeling of inebriation. This effect, of course, can lead to such events as those of August 1905 when Jean Lanfray, a Swiss farmer and known absinthe drinker, shot his entire family. The story made headlines all over Europe, proclaiming that he was under the influence of the evil absinthe. Absinthe was eventually banned in many countries around the world.

Hmmm, a toxic and potentially hallucinogenic chemical, Thujone, the main active ingredient in Absinthe, and an extremely high alcohol content, what a great combination!

Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be in Eastern Europe where Absinthe production was still legal. The first sip of Absinthe numbed my lips and the second created a slight tingling sensation as it went down. I have to say the ensuing effects were very much as described.

The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva

(Absinthe is often referred to as "La Féé Vert" or The Green Fairy due to its hideous effects and signature colour)

In recent years, the ban on Absinthe has been lifted, much to the delight of the aficionado and the curious alike. For information on how to purchase Absinthe, as well as, additional history, and articles on all things Absinthe please check out The Absinthe Buyers Guide.

So, who's ballsy enough to make their own??

©2011 Wait At The Bar

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