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Old 06.11.2009, 02:34
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Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

When I first came to Switzerland in the late 90's I was introduced to the then banned Absinthe from the Val de Travers region. My hosts gave me a huge glass of it (I'm sure to their great amusement ) and I left with a vague memory of a special drink.

When I finally moved here back in 2001 I was thrilled that my landlord and downstairs neighbor had a direct contact with a 'good' bootlegger and bought bottles by the case . I always got invited down to sample a new batch and usually left with a bottle of my own in the wee hours of the morning.

So I've got a taste for the real stuff, and have tried the common Kubler stuff that's found in the big stores, which is not bad at all.

But there are at least a half dozen other commercial Swiss absinthes available now, and I'm wondering what's worth shelling out for. Any knowledgeable Absinthe drinkers out there? What's good, what's close to the real clandestine stuff, what's different and worth a look, and what to avoid?
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Old 06.11.2009, 10:23
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

Id also love recommendations from a connoisseur on how to drink it - I know theres salt and a small spoon involved.... is it really necessary? is that just for the old fashioned hallucinogenic absinthe? Will the current absinthe make you hallucinate?
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Old 06.11.2009, 10:28
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

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Id also love recommendations from a connoisseur on how to drink it - I know theres salt and a small spoon involved.... is it really necessary? is that just for the old fashioned hallucinogenic absinthe? Will the current absinthe make you hallucinate?
Actually I think it's sugar to accelerate the effect of the alcohol. Not sure if the hallucino... hallu... the stuff still makes you hallucinate, I think that's only the clandestine spirits.

Usually you fill the glas with some absynthe, place the special Absynthe-sugar spoon over the tall glas, put the sugar on top and pour the water over it into the Absynthe... that's how I "learned" it anyway.

No recommendations for any brand/origin though. Ask your local spirit-dealer?
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Old 06.11.2009, 10:33
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

I think the currently available commercial stuff only has trace amounts of the thujone active ingredient, for legal reasons. One would have to go bootleg for anything else. The other active ingredient is alcohol... I've got a bottle of absinthe (I think it's Rumanian?) at home which is 85% alcohol by volume!
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Old 06.11.2009, 10:33
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

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Id also love recommendations from a connoisseur on how to drink it - I know theres salt and a small spoon involved.... is it really necessary? is that just for the old fashioned hallucinogenic absinthe? Will the current absinthe make you hallucinate?
The pur et dur Swiss that I know don't mess around with the spoons and sugar. They see it as ruining what is a lovely drink all on its own. Kind of like using Lagavulin to mix with Coke. General procedure is to mix about 1/4 to 1/3 Absinthe with cold water, with a couple of ice cubes if they are to be found.

The current stuff is quite close to the old stuff. From what I've read it has a bit less concentration of thujone. The hallucinations you hear about were apparently from shoddy Absinthes made to meet the demand in the 19th century where various chemicals were added to 'boost' it.

One effect to watch out for is the more you drink, the more sure you are that you aren't drunk . An Abinthe hangover is about the most wicked of them all.
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Old 07.11.2009, 12:23
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

Just in case you want to make your own absinthe: Some time ago, in front of a shop in Zurich's Niederdorf, I found its recipe.

Für die Menge von 120 Liter

92 Liter Alkohol 96 %
97 Liter Wasser
14 kg Anis (Piminelle anisum)
4 kg Fenchel (Foeniculum vulgare)
2 kg Gr. Wermut (Artemisia absinthium)
150 g Melisse (Melissa officinalis)
120 g Koriander (Coriandrum sativum)
+ Sternanis (Illicium verum)
Färbung:
12 kg kleiner Wermut (Artemisa pontica)
4 kg Ysop (Hyssopus officinalis)

Ein Destillierkolben auf einen alten Waschkessel gesetzt, Holz zum Feuern und los geh'ts! Viel Glück!

Last edited by zürihegel; 05.12.2009 at 20:20.
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Old 07.11.2009, 14:24
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

One of these days I'm going to take a weekend and head down to the Val de Travers and go on a few tastings. I think it would be very interesting to take a tour of some of these old distilleries and speak with the people involved. Take a look at the individual websites of the producers. They often have tasting days and tours.
Here's a good starting place: http://www.rueverte.fr/absinthes.php?pays=suisse
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Old 07.11.2009, 14:45
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

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Id also love recommendations from a connoisseur on how to drink it - I know theres salt and a small spoon involved.... is it really necessary? is that just for the old fashioned hallucinogenic absinthe? Will the current absinthe make you hallucinate?
Basically you get an empty glass, lay a tea spoon over the edge, add a cube of sugar, pour 4 cl of Absinthe over the sugar cube, then light the sugar with a lighter, leave it for around 30 to 60 sec, then turn the spoon to let the sugar drop into the drink & dissolve it.

2 of these drinks & you're done for the night
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Old 05.11.2017, 21:49
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Re: Absinthe- any fans/connoisseurs?

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When I first came to Switzerland in the late 90's I was introduced to the then banned Absinthe from the Val de Travers region. My hosts gave me a huge glass of it (I'm sure to their great amusement ) and I left with a vague memory of a special drink.

When I finally moved here back in 2001 I was thrilled that my landlord and downstairs neighbor had a direct contact with a 'good' bootlegger and bought bottles by the case . I always got invited down to sample a new batch and usually left with a bottle of my own in the wee hours of the morning.

So I've got a taste for the real stuff, and have tried the common Kubler stuff that's found in the big stores, which is not bad at all.

But there are at least a half dozen other commercial Swiss absinthes available now, and I'm wondering what's worth shelling out for. Any knowledgeable Absinthe drinkers out there? What's good, what's close to the real clandestine stuff, what's different and worth a look, and what to avoid?
Wow, don't know how I missed this post at the time. I wonnder who the bootlegger you mentionned was/is? In the meantime, anyone really interested in absinthe, it's history and the best distilleries of today - do get in touch- happy to show you around and introduce you to the best, both on Swiss and French side.

Last edited by Odile; 06.11.2017 at 12:15.
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