Absinthe…Blue sky and green haze

“I can see the blue sky through the green haze…”

I’m pretty passionate about my absinthe.  It is a spirit close to my heart due to its romanticism as well as its history. But more so because of its difficultly to distill.  Absinthe Blanche (and the vapor distilled alternatives: citrus, lavender, ginger) was one of the first projects I was put in charge of at my previous employer as well, although to be fair, those particular spirits more resembled Rakia or Pastis. None the less, we have a history together.  If Absinthe is done right there is, in my opinion, no other drink pre- or post- dinner that can compare with its effects nor blend so interestingly into such a diverse cocktail range.  It is one of but a few botanically-influenced distillates that actually stimulates a hunger response and is a nice repose to my Aquavit and Gin experiments.

Absinthe is always an interesting social drink.  Many come to it with high expectations fortified by their reading and viewing of books and movies that have woven tall tales into its physiological effects.  You can always tell when you’re dealing with someone well-initiated into the absinthe circle, while they may get nerdy on you, they won’t ramble on about hallucinations and Alpha Thujone. Perhaps a passing comment, but that is all.  Absinthe is one of those drinks you either love or hate (or, perhaps the next morning you love to hate it!)  There is no gray area.  This is almost always due to the fact that at its core, much like Ouzo and Rakia and Pastis, it is an Anisette.  If you don’t like licorice you won’t like absinthe plain and simple.

I could write a book on the history of Absinthe here but it might be pointless.  Better to let the spirit speak for itself.  Instead I’ll give you the short version of our absinthe Le Bleu history:

fennel

Fennel

After the Prohibition De Absinthe took effect in Europe, many Swiss distillers decided to continue production of the now illicit spirit.  Think of them as the Moonshiners of the Alps if you will, hardy people with a tradition that made money that they would like to continue.  Many distillers moved deep into the countryside and set up clandestine distilleries, often growing or wildcrafting (gathering) the trinity of herbs and botanicals (Grand Wormwood, Green Anise, and Fennel) as well as any modifying botanicals they may want to use.  These recipes, many very individualized, were well regarded secrets.  Distilling Eau-De-Vie was not illegal so the ever clever Absintheur often settled on distilling an absinthe sans post distillation maceration so as to conceal his clandestine product.  Often times what had been considered traditional coloring herbs in absinthe verde were now added to the distilling pot instead so as to concentrate their flavor into something familiar to the absinthe drinking masses.  The result?  A product the Swiss often said reflected the color of their Azure sky: Le Blue!

green-anise

Green Anise

For our Absinthe we relied on a Swiss recipe base and then built upon it with many modifications to create an experience like no other.  Thirteen botanicals chosen to balance the drink (and pay tribute to the unlucky number 13 which clandestine distillers always avoided on jars and bottles) and bring the silky, sweet, smooth, bitter, and pastoral flavors to a crescendo. We added no artificial flavors and we feel that the sugar cube is not needed during serving but we won’t frown upon it if you choose to follow that Bohemian tradition. Clear as crystal and naturally giving the impression of sweetness, the holy Trinity is ever present and yet given contrast by sweet chamomile.  We can’t wait to get this in the bottle for you.