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Absinthe

Absinthe is the drink that needs little introduction, its reputation precedes it more than that of any other spirit in the world. La Fée Verte (The Green Fairy), as it is known, is distilled from the herb Grande Wormwood an ingredient used in many herbal drinks, including Bitters.

Usually, Absinthe is bottled at very high strength and it is made with neutral alcohol and various herbs. Traditional variants are made with white grape spirit, though absinthes are often made using alcohol distilled from grains, potatoes of beets. The three main ingredients, sometimes known as the “Holy Trinity”, are Florence fennel, Green Anise and Grande Wormwood. Other flavourings include star anise, angelica, coriander and nutmeg.

There are various styles of Absinthe, including Blanche (also known as la bleue) which is bottled immediately after distillation – it is clear in colour. Verte absinthe is coloured with a mixture of herbs post distillation, and Verte absinthes are similar to the Spanish Absenta – which differs in slightly in flavour (the addition of Alicante anise brings added sweetness). Bohemian Absinthe, often known as Czech-style absinthe, is made with very little or no anise or fennel, relying on wormwood for its flavour – it also has a very high alcoholic content.

Historically, absinthe has been portrayed as dangerous intoxicant, even a narcotic, though its infamy has also been a blessing in disguise, as the drink has gained an almost mythical reputation – with all sorts of suggestions of hallucinogenic effects and visions of green fairies and the like. The blame is usually centred on the chemical thujone – which, if present, is only found in very small quantities. It was also, incorrectly, purported to be a cannabinoid (a narcotic compound present in a drug with a similar sounding name). This is untrue, and thujone is allowed in certain foodstuffs in the EU. Studies have also shown that there are only minute quantities of it in absinthe.

Absinthe was paraded as the poster boy for the temperance movement (a historically shunning of alcoholic drinks) – and all sorts of woes and social immoralities were blamed on it. Vincent Van Gogh was famously said to be intoxicated with absinthe when cutting his own ear off and the drink was famously enjoyed by such eminent figures as Toulouse Lautrec, and even Oscar Wilde. Whilst much of the controversy surrounding absinthe is factually inaccurate, we would recommend that, due to its high alcoholic strength, it be drunk diluted and in moderation as well as being treated with responsibility.

The French Method of drinking absinthe involves the traditional slotted absinthe spoon. Absinthe is poured into the glass first. Then the slotted spoon is place atop the glass with a sugar cube on it. Using a slow drip fountain, water is gradually dripped onto the sugar cube, and into the glass until the cube is dissolved, the spoon is then used to stir the drink. Note, it will become cloudy thanks to the Louche Effect.

The Bohemian Method (We recommend you do not attempt this – it’s rather dangerous!) involves using a traditional heat proof absinthe glass, absinthe is poured into the glass, the slotted spoon is placed on top of the glass and an absinthe-soaked sugar cube is placed on the spoon. The sugar cube is then lit, and the cube is dropped into the drink and allowed to burn out – this removes some of the alcoholic content, as well as things like eyebrows and fringes (note – not a recommended grooming method).

Did you know?... ...Thujone is not exclusive to absinthe; there is actually thujone present in many herbs, including sage.

Absinthe

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Origin Gin
Absente 55°
(70cl, 55%)
A french absinthe made from a blend of artemisia absinthium, aniseed flavours, mint and spices. Mild and pastis-like in style, ideal for cocktails. Absente means 'absent' in French. #drinkaware  More info
$53.30
Adnams Absinthe Rouge
(50cl, 66%)
Adnams' Head Distiller John McCarthy became fascinated with the dark and mysterious world of absinthe whilst touring the bars of the United Kingdom and as a result created this, his homage to the...  More info
$60.62
Adnams Absinthe Verte
(50cl, 66%)
This absinthe from Southwold brewers/distillers Adnams, is inspired by an old French recipe and is perfect in cocktails or by itself with a little water and sugar.  More info
$60.62
A verte Swiss Absinthe made using a dozen different botanicals. This is a classic style of Absinthe, designed for true connoisseurs. It was named after creator Claude-Alain Bugnon's daughter, and also...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.5/5)
$95.15
This delicious absinthe was based on a pre-prohibition absinthe that was made in Boston in the early 1900s. There were fields of wormwood throughout the Midwest and New England, so they had plenty of...  More info
$88.15
Clandestine Absinthe
(70cl, 53%)
Based on a 1935 recipe by the renowned Swiss Absinthe distiller Charlotte Vaucher, this is a "Swiss La Bleue" or clear Absinthe. The producers recommend this be served without sugar.  More info
$79.13
Cold-Distilled Absinthe
(50cl, 91.20%)
A supremely delicious absinthe from the legendary Professor Cornelius Ampleforth. He crafts this fine spirit by macerating a selection of superb botanicals in English wheat spirit. These botanicals...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$99.13
This is an absinthe produced by Fresh distillers Combier. The name "L'Entêté Absinthe" means "The Stubborn Absinthe", in reference to the reaction the owner of Combier, Franck Choisne, had to the 1988...  More info
$90.61
Hapsburg Absinthe Classic
(50cl, 72.50%)
Hapsburg Absinthe Classic is made using the traditional absinthe recipe, which includes grand wormwood, creating some fantastically refined and unmistakable herbal aromas that have made the green...  More info
$56.08
Despite this being Hapsburg's lower alcohol absinthe, the Absinthe Red still weighs in at a sturdy 69% abv. It was made with cocktails in mind, featuring a less pronounced aniseed taste to make it...  More info
$55.82
The Hapsburg Black Label Amere Absinthe is bottled at the intense abv of 79% and is made with a recipe that include the most thujone legally allowed in alcoholic drinks in Europe, which is 35mg/kg. As...  More info
$65.95
The Hapsburg Super Deluxe Red Label Absinthe follows naming conventions set in the 1990s by Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. It is a premium absinthe which...  More info
$65.06
Hapsburg XC Original
(50cl, 89.90%)
The label of the Hapsburg XC Original says Extra Strong on the label, and it definitely is strong. Carrying an abv of 89.9%, the Hapsburg XC should be served very well diluted and far away from any...  More info
$88.10
Jade 1901 Absinthe
(70cl, 68%)
Created by the superb Jade company this is a classic absinthe based on a 1901 recipe which was used by the famous Pernod Fils distillery based in Saumur, France.  More info
$109.95
The debut bottling from top absinthe producer, Jade. They specialise in producing absinthes based on pre-ban recipes from over a century ago. This verte absinthe offers up hints of sweetness and fresh...  More info
$109.09
Jade Nouvelle-Orleans is a verte absinthe based on a recipe by T.A. Breaux who studied absinthes made in New Orleans in the early part of the 20th century. This is a stunning style of absinthe and is...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$105.56
Jade VS 1898 Absinthe
(70cl, 65%)
A Verte Suisse absinthe based on a recipe that was distilled by CF Berge in the 19th century prior to the Absinthe ban. This is a full-bodied spirit distilled by Jade. Neat packaging too!  More info
$104.60
A lower strength verte absinthe from La Fée. This is designed for the bar and club market, where its lower abv allows for a greater flexibility when it comes to mixing in drinks… Awarded Gold at the...  More info
$40.84
A fabulous, sweet, herbal, old-fashioned white absinthe, La Fée Blanche is based on an old French recipe from the 1800s, produced in conjunction with the French Absinthe Museum. Don't be put off by...  More info
$68.12
Since July 2013 La Fée Parisienne has been made with 100% natural ingredients including 60% grand wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium), a much higher proportion than before. Meanwhile, a UV resistant...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (2.5/5)
$64.86
A 50cl-sized bottle of La Fée's classic Parisienne style absinthe. This was awarded a silver medal at the 2003 International Spirits Challenge, and it is made to an original 19th century recipe.  More info
$45.96
This absinthe from La Fée is distilled in Pontarlier, France, and it's made in very small quantities to an old-fashioned French recipe, based on locally-grown Grand Wormwood.  More info
$126.34
A Swiss-style absinthe from La Fée, the top producers. They make this wine-based absinthe in Val-de-Travers, Switzerland, using very old recipes and methods. Made with locally grown Grand Wormwood.  More info
$128.47
Created at Pontarlier in the Jura mountain range to the east of France, La Maison Fontaine is a superb clear abinsthe which won a Gold and a Best in Class at the International Wine and Spirit...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$79.83
Produced to a classic recipe, La Maison Fontaine Verte is a tasty French absinthe made at the company's Pontarlier Distillery.  More info
$102.11
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