Anyone ever drink Absinthe?

Derrik Draven

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I've been thinkin' about purchasing a bottle/kit through the net, and I've been wondering what the experience/taste is like?
Read that it's VERY bitter, hench the sugar cubes, but does it have a tasty flavor when it's poured over the cubes?
I forget the name of the ingredient that's found in the quality absinthe that's similar to an ingredient in marijuana, but supposedly the cheaper/lower quality versions out there do not have it at all. Even so, supposedly the amount found in it is so small that it has little effect, especially when you consider absinthe is around 75% alcohol. I think it's the "alchy" doing the real work!

But, from what little I've read from real absinthe conisseur's (sp?), the effect from drinking it is still unlike any other "drunkeness" you'll ever experience. Kind of a very mellow buzz.
Anyhoo...any forum member able to shed some light on this? Is it worth importing a bottle or two? And, if so, what brand(s) are recommendable????
Thanks for any info!
Anyone that has seen Bram Stokers Dracula, saw Oldman/Ryder drinkin' this liquor during one scene.
 

Bill Catherall

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It's also the Green Fairy stuff from Moulin Rouge.
(Can't help you though. Just thought I'd add that to your movie list.)
 

Ron-P

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Johnny Depp also drinks it in 'From Hell'. I'd also be interested in tasteing it.
Peace Out~
 

Kevin T

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absinthe's primary ingredients are anise, thujone, and wormwood. actually, if you rent or buy "from hell", there is an entire documentary on absinthe on the extra disc. absinthe was also prominently featured in "the perfect drug" video by nine inch nails. if you are interested in purchasing absinthe, click the preceding link. please note, absinthe is illegal to import but to the best of my knowledge it is not illegal to possess. you might wanna consult the laws in your area in regard to the specific legality before attempting to purchase absinthe.
kevin t
 

Joseph Young

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Kevin T is right..
And it is specifically wormwood which is considered the 'offending agent,' if you will.
The previous references to absinthe in the After Hours archive are buried somewhere, but I have tasted the real stuff and it's kooky.
The anise is a prominent element taste-wise. If you have ever tasted Uzo (or black licorice), it's similar. Absinthe, like alcohol, changes perception but (for me) in a less tactile way. Hard to describe exactly, similar to drunkenness but the mind gets drunk, the body less so.
That probably didn't make much sense.
In any case, I don't believe it's legal to brew or distribute in any way, so be careful out there kiddos!
Joseph
 

Fredrik E

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I have tasted "absinthe" at a local bar, but it wasn't the "real thing" I suppose, I think it lacks several ingredients which they used in the old days...
The percentage of alcohol in my absinthe was 60% and the taste was similar to the greek Ouzo, if anyone knows what I mean.
The color was green
 

andrew markworthy

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Yep, I concur - it's like drinking cough medicine. However, if that's your thing, go ahead (though bear in mind the usual warnings). Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge, it can be bought legally in the UK.
 

Scott Leopold

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Your local laws probably won't mention much about it because it's a federal offense to purchase/import it (not sure about possession). I believe the wormwood can cause brain damage, hence the ban on it. There is a recently released domestic product called Absente (or something similar), which is basically Absinthe minus the wormwood. From what I've read on it, you're better off buying cheap Ouzo (?), or something similar due to the tastes being nearly identical.
 

Shane Gralaw

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Yeah, Nyquil was my general impression of the taste. It's not really "trippy" like some films would lead you to believe, more similar to an alchohol high, but it is slightly different. I never had the non-wormwood version so I can't really compare if it's more the alchohol or my imagination. It is rather headache inducing if you have more than a couple of glasses, but unless you are a painfully arty English Lit major it's not something you would choose to get drunk on anyway.
 

Philip_G

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Johnny Depp also drinks it in 'From Hell'. I'd also be interested in tasteing it.

DAMN! beat me too it.

he does other stuff to it, like pour it on a sugar cube and light it on fire then mix with some other stuff and drink it though? that whole thing made no sense to me, guess I need to study my drugs better.
 

Michael Warner

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I've tried it twice. Once at a bar in New Orleans that had a stash of the real stuff for those who asked nicely and once in Spain where it remains legal (along with the U.K. and the Czech Republic if I recall correctly). Since I like both black licorice and strong liquers I really enjoyed it but I didn't find it to have any strange effects that regular old alcohol doesn't possess. It's more the history of the drink and the quaint rituals surrounding imbibing it that make Absinthe so intriguing.
 

Ron-P

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For those that have tasted it. Does it taste like Jagermeister? I like Jagermeister.
Peace Out~
 

Sarah S

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One of my friends imports a bottle every year; either he's been getting away with a felony for a few years now or the brand he buys doesn't have any wormwood in it or nobody really cares or something.

It does taste exceedingly like black licorice. My friend likes to pour it through sugar cubes, but doesn't light it on fire or anything like that. Very nice liquor.
 

Nathan_R

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I don't think it tastes like Jagermeister at all. If you're thinking about buying a kit off the net, I would not recommend doing that. Too many horror stories going around about bad wormwood encounters. It's a mighty tasty drink (actually its little brother "pastis" is still my favorite), but if you want pretty much the same effect, go to the nicest liquor store in town and buy the modern absinthe. You'll get a little spoon and an absinthe glass in the box, along with the poison.

Best regards,
~~Nathan
 

John Garcia

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Just purchased and watched From Hell this weekend. Disheartening movie to say the least, but good. Kind of that same feeling I was left with after watching Seven.

The sugarcube thing was interesting, and was apparently to add flavor. The cube was doused in Absinthe, then lit with a match, cold water was poured through the sugar cube to seep the carmelized sugar into the liquor. I'm not sure what role the Laudenum played, but I am sure it had more to do with Depp's characters use of opium vs the absinthe.

What I found interesting, and what may be the real reason for the drink being banned in many countries, was when absinthe, was combined with various alcohols. Apparently the wormwood had quite a significant reaction, which varied with different types of alcohol, and apparently may have caused dementia in some people. In the documentary on Absinthe, there was a famous murder, which was the "last straw" that got it banned in France, the largest producer of it at the time.

I also found it very interesting that the Wine industry was also lobbying against it, because it had become extremely popular, and was taking a fair share of the market away from them.
 

Dan D.

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Absinthe's demise was due to a couple of factors. At the turn of the century (the last one, not a couple of years ago), there was a growing temperence movement because alcohol was perceived to be causing many of society's ills. At the time, absinthe was the most popular drink around, particularly in Europe. Thus, it became the prime target of prohibitionists. Much of their arguement was centered on absinthe's particularly distructive qualities, attributed to wormwood/thujone, which made absinthe distinct from other alcohols which did not seemingly have such high abuse rates. Interestingly, it was very likely not the thujone that was causing the problems. Absinthe of the day was roughly 80-90% alcohol. Not proof, percent! Making matters worse, distilling processes of the time were exceptionally poor, unregulated and unscrupulous. For example, a manufacturer who could not attain quality absinthe's prized green color naturally might add toxic colorings such as copper chloride to do so. This isn't to say that thujone is perfectly safe, but it is more on an order of magnitude with marijuana than the super neural toxin it is purported to be. The real damage of classic absinthe was likely due less to this than to the massive alcohol content, poor ingredients and chronic usage.

As pointed out above, absinthe is still legal in several European countries, though with alcohol and thujone contents far below historic levels. Spain has the highest allowed thujone content and generally the best flavor. Absinthe is now legal in England but only with an even lower thujone level, so I believe most of the stuff you will find there comes from eastern Europe. Actually, I believe it is also legal in Canada now too, with level limits similar to England. The taste has evolved from the original absinthe, with anise/licorice becoming much more dominant in the flavor as opposed to a reportedly more balanced, herbal taste to the original. Also, modern absinthe is much sweeter, in some cases not even needing sugar, but then you miss out on the ritual which is half the fun. Connoisseurs seldom have good things to say about the "fake" absinthe brand available in the US called "Absente", as compared to the current European varieties. The basic rule, if you enjoy pastis (like Pernod, originally an absinthe) or any of the anise liquers (Ouzo, Sambuca, Anisette) you will probably enjoy absinthe. If you hate licorice, there's not much here for you. Personally, I think the thujone effect is often exaggerated, both historically and even more so now.

To get anything close to original absinthe, you have to track down something called "La Bleu", which is basically the moonshine of western Switzerland, so you aren't going to find it in stores. Obtaining Spanish or eastern European absinthe is no real challenge, though it is illegal in the US. Then again, so is speeding on the highway. Will customs send you to jail for importing a bottle or two of absinthe? I think they have far greater things to be worrying about. The most likely worst case is that it gets confiscated. I've heard of people receiving broken bottles in the mail that were never questioned. Does this make breaking the law OK? Certainly not, but that's your moral dilemma. With respect to forum rules, I won't discuss how exactly one might acquire a bottle here, just the general legal issues, though it seems that may have already been mentioned above.

For those interested in learing more about the drink's fascinating history, there is an excellent book called Absinthe: History in a Bottle by Barnaby Conrad, available at most large bookstores or on-line.
 

Anthony Hom

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Benny Hill had a great joke about absinthe.

He was posing (with Bob Todd) as a couple in a British cooking show (Benny in drag):

Benny - And just remember to add just a touch of absinthe.

Bob- Because absinthe makes the heart grow fonder!
 

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