Absinthe

Absinthe is an anise flavored spirit derived from various different botanicals including Artemisia absinthium, also known as “Grand Wormword”, Artemisia pontica, also know as “Petite Wormword”, green anise, sweet fennel, and other aromatic herbs.
 
Absinthe is traditionally bottled without sugar and is therefore classified as a spirit not a liqueur.
Traditionally it has a natural green color from the botanicals and in literature is often refered to as “la fée verte”  or the green fairy.

History of Absinthe

The botanical wormword has been used in medicine since ancient Egyptian times. Wormwood leaves soaked in wine were used by the Greeks as remedies for all sorts of ailments. The first clear evidence of absinthe in the modern sense of a distilled spirit containing green anise and fennel, however, dates to the late 18th century where Absinthe was first made in the Neuchâtel canton of Switzerland. Absinthe grew in popularity and was given in rations to French troops as an anti-malaria. The returning troops brought the taste for Absinthe back to France when they returned and the drink became so popular that by the 1860’s the hour of 5pm was known as l'heure verte ("the green hour").




New Orleans has a profound cultural association with absinthe, and is credited as the birthplace of the Sazerac, regarded as perhaps the earliest absinthe cocktail.Many famous people drank absinthe and Sazerac cocktails including Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Franklin Roosevelt, and Frank Sinatra. The drink was quickly portrayed as dangerously addictive and rumors of it containing a psychoactive drug still abound. The chemical compound thujone was originally blamed for its harmful effects.

Of course Absinthe has never been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than any other alcoholic spirit. The level of thujone in Absinthe would require the drinker to drink enough Absinthe to die of alcohol poisoning long before any effects from the thujone are felt. It would appear that any psychoactive experiences attributed to Absinthe have been very much exaggerated.



The temperance movement and various French winemakers’ associations began to publicly complain that drinking absinthe led to violent crimes and anti-social behavior. Artists began showing works of art with absinthe drinkers portrayed as drunks and louts. The popular view of absinthe was intrinsically tied to this view point. After absinthe was banned the pastis became the popular drink; this led to many new anise flavored spirits that did not contain wormword.
In the late 1990s many countries removed the laws banning sale and consumption of absinthe and many different styles are now available.

Absinthe Production

The principal botanicals used in absinthe are grande wormword, green anise, and sweet fennel. Many other botanicals are also used such as angelica, coriander, hyssop, star anise, and nutmeg. Many countries do not have an actual legal definition or quality standard of absinthe in the same way they do for Brandy, Scotch, or Gin. However producers of legitimate absinthe will generally use either distillation or cold mixing to create absinthe. Distilled absinthe is produced in much the same manner as high quality gin and is superior to cold mixed absinthe production. The botanicals in distilled absinthe are initially macerated in the distilled base alcohol and then this mixture is redistilled to gain the desired texture and flavor. Cold mixed absinthe is the mixing of flavoring essences and coloring in strong alcohol; this is much the same method employed for most flavored vodkas. Traditional absinthes obtain their green color solely from the chlorophyll of the herbs. The chlorophyll is extracted during the secondary maceration and gives the drink its famous green color, this also gives the absinthe a herbal complexity and is considered obligatory for high quality absinthe.  

Louche


Absinthe spoons are designed to be able to hold a sugar cube on top of the glass, cold water is dripped over the sugar cube to dilute the absinthe. Usually the absinthe is diluted 1 part absinthe to 3 or 5 parts water.

The botanical components which are not very soluble in water precipitate out of solution and the drink turns a milky white. This is known as the louche. The essences released give more aroma and flavor to the drink than when it is undiluted.  

The Bohemian method is similar to the style ascribed above, but instead the sugar cube is soaked in absinthe and then set ablaze before being dropped into the absinthe. A small amount of water is then added to douse the flames. This method tends to produce a stronger flavored drink.

Absinthe Producers

Producer
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About the Producer
Pacifique DistilleryPacific Distillery is a small, family-owned-and-operated distillery located in the heart of Woodinville, Washington's wine country, just north of Seattle. We specialize in making world-class hand-made spirits using old-world methods, recipes and equipment.
Pacifique utilizes the knowledge accumulated from years of running their small family herb business to good use. Botanical samplings from around the world, in addtion to what they have grown in their garden are combined to make the best spirits possible.
Pacifique uses one of the old style copper pot stills to distill their Absinthe and Gin.

Making old world spirits requires old world skills and old world equipment. Since their products are single-batch, hand-made spirits, it only makes sense for them to use an alambic pot still that was made with this craft in mind. Pacifique is committed to the methods of spirit-making that were practiced by the craft distillers of the 19th Century.
Another reason for choosing a traditional copper still is the chemical properties copper exerts during the distillation. Copper has excellent heat-transfer capabilities, resistance to corrosion from wine being distilled into brandy, and copper chemically neutralizes many of the unwanted flavors that can ruin a liquor.
The botanicals used in Pacifique spirits range from familiar aromatic spices like citrus zests, cinnamon, anise and juniper, to hard-to-find and exotic items such as roman wormwood and florentine fennel.

Pacifique Absinthe Verte Supérieure
A super-premium absinthe, hand-crafted in the historic Franco-Swiss style. Pacifique is made in exact accordance to a classic 1855 French recipe, and faithfully represents a recreation of the kind of absinthe one would drink in 19th century France. Pacifique is artisan distilled using historic distilling techniques in a hand-hammered copper alembic pot still. By using only the finest grain spirits and selected botanicals chosen from around the globe, we insure a truly world class product that reflects the undeniable qualities of the art of traditional distilling.
Wormwood, green anise and fennel are often called the "Holy Trinity" of absinthe botanicals. Virtually every true quality absinthe of the Belle Époque era was founded on a delicate balance between these three ingredients. The sweet, spicy, robust flavors of the anise and fennel are wonderfully complimented by the fresh, cool, herbal aromatics of the absinthium wormwood.

For distillery and product information, please see: www.pacificdistillery.com
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