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Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 09 December 2011

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absintheabsinthe history
famous absinthe drinkersplaces to drink absinthe


absinth1Mythical and mysterious, Absinthe is the infamous Parisian spirit rumoured to send those who dare to sip the pale green liquid into an impulsive, murderous rage. Embodied in the image of the green fairy with her delicate silver wings and long, swirling hair, the mystical drink quickly summons visions of artists and poets whispering behind murky, coffee shop windows, pouring the liquid through ornate silver strainers; the smell of herbs hanging in the air. 
While the drink was the epitome of glamour at the height of the Belle Epoque, it’s alleged strange side-affects soon led to it being banned in countries around the world, and the green fairy was locked away for centuries; neglected and misunderstood. Since the myths have been dispelled and the bans lifted, Absinthe has been enjoying a slow resurgence. But though the fairy is able to stretch her wings once more, La Fee Verte has not reached full flight yet. In her absence, many have forgotten about the strange herbal liquor that disappeared from bar repertoires so many years ago.



In the fight to restore the pale drink to the world, a few devotees in distant pockets of the globe are beginning to add fervour to the Absinthe revolution. Enchanted by the fairy’s spell, they are restoring old recipes and using the spirit to create brand new cocktails.  As the revolution flickers slowly, we wanted to help stir the pale green embers and bring you closer to the long lost spirit, so we've put together our Puff guide to Absinthe. From old recipes to new cocktails, absinthe bars to drinking techniques, we’re proudly fanning the flames of the Absinthe revolution...



Puff Picks: Where to Drink Absinthe

Peche, Austin, Texas

Discovering Absinthe while travelling the world, the owner of Peche was inspired to create a bar menu designed around this strange spirit. The bar’s extensive absinthe menu includes cocktails Absinthe God (Absinthe, Orgeat, Lemon, Egg White); Tru Blood (Absinthe Rouge and Champagne); Silver Monk (Green Chartreusse); and Hemmingway Revival (Yellow Chartreuse, Cocci Americano, Lemon, Luxado Maraschino). Alternatively they have a wide range of different Absinthes which you can enjoy on their own.



The Old Absinthe House, New Orleans

In the heart of the French quarter sits the Old Absinthe House, which served the drink to the people of New Orleans before the prohibition. Packed with history, the building still has the original marble fountains that were used to drip cool water over sugar cubes into glasses of absinthe. The bar’s signature drink created in 1874 by Cayetano Ferrer, the Absinthe Frappe, is still being served to this day, and is a must-drink for any Absinthe lover.

 

 

absinth2


Brompton Bar and Grill, London

This Knightsbridge bar has recently released a cocktail menu dedicated entirely to Absinthe. It includes champagne-based cocktail Death in the Afternoon, a Whiskey and Bitters concoction called Morning Glory Fizz, and Absinthe-based Caipirihnas and Daiquiris. Or if you want a more traditional experience, you can drink from the Absinthe drip with a slotted spoon, sugar cube, and steady stream of ice-cold water from your own iced water fountain.



How to Drink Absinthe: The Traditional Method

The traditional way to drink Absinthe is to mix it with sugar and water. To do it properly you’ll need a small glass (the more elaborate the better), some water, some sugar, a slotted spoon, and some absinthe.



Method: Pour one to two shots of absinthe into the glass, then measure out three times as much water: For one shot add three shots of water, for two shots add six. Drip the water into the absinthe by running it through the slotted spoon, on top of which you should put your sugar cube. Et voila!



How It Was Made: An Original Absinthe Recipe

(We've dug out an original Absinthe recipe which shows how the drink used to be made. But remember it’s illegal to distill your own alcohol in many countries, so better not try this one at home!)



Ingredients

Grand Wormwood, dried and stripped 2 kil. 500
Green Anise 5
Fennel of Florence 5
Alcohol at 85 degrees 95 litres

Instructions

Macerate the ingredients with the alcohol for twelve hours or less in a double boiler, then add 45 liters of water heated to 60-80 degrees, and distill slowly, preferably with steam, to obtain 95 liters of product which will be used to prepare the liqueur. Nevertheless, continue distilling, just until the liquid coming out of the still reads zero on the alcohol meter. This blanquette, though only slightly alcoholic, is precious; it contains much essence and it is poured into subsequent batches along with the alcohol and the plants.



The distilled liquid, very fragrant, is white or color- less like water. To transform it into absinthe, it is necessary to color it and reinforce its fragrance.

To obtain a green color, one takes:

Petite Wormwood, dried and stripped 1 kilograms
Hyssop (dried heads and flowers) 1
Lemon Balm, dried and cleaned 500 gram.

All these ingredients being as finely divided as possible, that is to say, cut, chopped, or crushed; one places them into a double boiler along with the previously distilled product, or better yet into an apparatus called a colorator, of galvanized copper, heated by hot water circulation or by steam, and one heats everything to just around 50 degrees centigrade. Under the influence of this temperature, the plants yield to the liqueur their main natural coloring, chlorophyll, and their fragrance. One cools gently, and passes the colored liquid through a hair sieve, letting the plants drain well, and one adds the quantity of water necessary to reduce (the alcohol content) to 74 degrees and to makeup (the quantity) to 100 liters, and one places it into barrels to age. It is time which finishes the quality.






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