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Archive through October 24, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » Strictly Absinthe & Collectibles » Absinthe substitutes... gasp!!!! » Archive through October 24, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 10:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post to absinthe eh? Well then you've come to the best website to learn about it. I would humbly suggest that you obtain a bottle of Emile 68 or Francois Guy, or even the new Pernod 68.
Just check Kallisti's lists and it will tell you where to go and how to get it. Probably the Emile 68 will bring you closest to what absinthe was in the days of yore. Whatever you do avoid anything from the Czech Republic. As for the Serpis suggestion...remember that it is coming from a prosthetic head!
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 8:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 8:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, there is one "cocktail" I had once in Germany that made Campari palatable, actually. Very much so. Don't know measurements, but if you want to experiment:

Vitamin/fruity drink similar to V8 Splash

Yum yum yum. I know, I'm girly, I like my liquors camouflaged. I will let you know when I've had actual absinthe; I will be the designated newbie. What's the best cheap absinthe brand in your opinions?
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 7:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think lighter fluid would be a good
way to avert yourself from any of the
more popular Czech brands...

Or Energine, Naptha, even dish water
with JOY liquid.

I like to help.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 7:02 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't like Campari at all. I've tried, really. So I don't think it's a good test for whether or not you will like absinthe.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 7:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Interesting... Campari is similar to Serpis, huh? I've been hearing more and more about a cocktail called a Negroni, which consists of equal parts of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin. Since I don't have any Campari, I think I'll try it with my idle bottle of Serpis 65. Thanks, Wolfgang.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 6:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Funny you mention that Woolfurter, I was going
to suggest a jigger of Campari in the SERPIS Kit.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 6:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Campari is close to Serpis absinthe, which is not a traditional kind of absinthe IMO. I'm not saying it is bad but it is not traditional.

Some pastis are good but none taste like absinthe for the simple reason that it doesn't contain any absinthe (artemisia absinthium). Most pastis are heavy on anis. That is a similarity with spanish absinthes. Try a pastis before buying a spanish absinthe just to know if you like anis or not.

The best absinthes I had where wonderful, it was like smelling and tasting a fairy elixir. It was herbal, floral, and just a *little* bit bitter. Most commercial absinthes are very expensive for nothing and are disapointing. Some are good, none are excellent.

Let us know about your experience, this forum needs some enthusiastic newbies.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 12:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, my unsophisticated palate and I (touche indeed) will just try some pastis for now, and then decide if real absinthe (the description of which WAS both poetic and I'm sure apt) might be for me in the future. It's not so much the price of the absinthe itself that is unusually steep, it's the shipping costs from Germany (34 Euros is the cheapest??). Thanks for all your help though. I appreciate it. Back to my Herbsaint and Zima now... :(
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Buy a bottle of Un Emile 68, when you figure that Absente, La Muse Verte, and the domestic version of Versinthe, all generally retail for a bit over $ 30.00, the price for a bottle of Un Emile is competitive, and you get a good bottle of Absinthe in the bargin.
Come on,.. buy your first bottle of Absinthe, You know you want too........
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Now that you mention it, Campari tastes like Palenkovac, a wormwood digestive I had in Zagreb. Unleavened by anise, it was drinkable with icewater, sugar and a twist of lemon. Anyway, it solved the mystery of why Croatia seemed to be the only eastern European country that wasn't cashing in on the absinthe market. Russia imports Czech and Spanish industrial-grade stuff.

It really depends on whether you like liquorice or not. If you've had ouzo or Pernod, you have some idea what to expect. There are cocktail guides from the 1950s and '60s that feature absinthe cocktails, using a substitute like pastis.

I'm partial to La Fee, which goes for US50 per bottle at a shop in London. Stay away from the wretched Hill's or other Czech brands.

I think most losses in transit tend to be accident, theft or breakage, seizures being uncommon.

Good luck
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 11:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Campari is pretty one-dimensional. Good Absinthe is very complex, lots of different herbal flavors going on. If you can't dig Perruche's poetic and very apt description of wormwood, you're in the wrong place, my friend. Have a Zima instead.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 11:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

"oh, just stick to pastis."

Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 10:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

oh, just stick to pastis.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 10:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

sweat and catnip... not sold yet. another question though, which will make me sound even more ignorant than i already do.. i had a glass of campari the other night.. and that has some wormwood in it, right, though i imagine hardly any, since i am in the good ol' us of a and campari is still legal... and i discovered that i don't like campari. way too bitter and perfumey. so how is absinthe compared to that?
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 9:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, the biggest difference between pastis and absinthe is the herb Artemisia absinthium, or wormwood (called 'absinthe' in French). This herb has a wonderfully sweet smell when dried, but a very bitter taste. Distilling it removes the bitter elements and leaves the sweet ones.

I think the smell and taste are a little like green tea, a little like catnip, and a little like the beads of sweat that form on a clean human body during a state of high sexual arousal.

Sold yet?
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks a lot for the prompt help! With a little more goading, I might be persuaded to try the real thing after all...
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 7:14 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

La Muse Verte is a pastis that you should be able to find easily. I think it comes closest to good absinthe, and it does require sugar (it even comes with a cheap but servicable spoon) so you can do the ritual. But it costs about $40 for 750cl, so you might as well spring for a liter bottle of Francois Guy absinthe for about $60. You have absolutely nothing to fear about "testing the law".

Or you could get Henri Bardouin pastis at $20 a liter, also easy to find. It tastes similar to the Spanish brands.

But don't mess with any homemade concoction.
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 6:41 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

i'll have to second the greenimp on glassware from absinthespoon... he has a nice selection at very reasonable prices and he ships by priority mail so you'll have it in about 3 days!
on the absinthe front... if your purchasing for personal consumption (1-3 bottles) you should be more than safe... like mogan d. said worst case is that some sticky fingered customs agent takes it home for himself and most venders give partial to full credit for "lost" or broken bottles... for what some pastis cost it's not that much of a monetary leap to the "real thing"
Posted on Thursday, October 24, 2002 - 6:16 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

You can always, and this *isn't* a troll, buy the Gert Stand essence and mix it up with Everclear diluted to 75%. Better than the vodka herbal tea mixes, IMHO.

Strand sells it out of Sweden by the 13 bottle size, but you can get individual bottle sizes from some places online. Some minimum order thing involved probalby. is one place. Ships from Texas I think.

Better than *not* having any absinthe. Something to try while you save up for one of those 'real' bottles.
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


Ditto the advice on pastis. La Muse Verte and Henri Bardouin are very good. Ricard isn't bad.

But I'll second Mogan David on the relative ease of ordering absinthe. Orders of two bottles never seem to be a problem. The vendors recommended on this site are very professional and have a great track record.

You know you'll want to try it eventually.
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 9:17 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I happen to like herbsaint, but it is already sweet and does not really need any sugar. henri bardouin pastis is good too. it is also pretty sweet. la muse verte pastis is unsweetend and works well with the sugar cube ritual. it also has a slightly bitter finnish that resembles some of the vintage absinthes that I have tasted.
I hope this helps
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 9:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Williams-Sonoma has these glasses that look similiar to an old style glass.
Try a bottle of Herbsaint, or Muse Verte Pastis, or Versinthe.
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 9:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


What's the point of buying a pastis? You are still going to wonder what real absinthe tastes like, and in the end you'll have wasted the money you spent on the Herbsaint, Ricard, or whatever "fake" absinthe you decided to buy. It will only peak your interest and in the end you won't be able to help yourself and you'll go ahead and spend the money anyway. (Does it sound like I've been there?)

I bought the Absente glass and spoon from the offer. My advice is don't waste your time. The glass is way to small for my taste. You can get exactly the same spoon for a couple of euros when you order your "real" absinthe from Marcus.

While there may be some legal technicality about buying absinthe from Europe, I seriously doubt that you could get in any trouble. Worst case is the possibility or not receiving your order due to a customs seizure(is that the right spelling, or did is just accidently write something funny?). I have never heard of American customs seizing an order of one or two bottles, though I'm sure if I'm wrong someone will chime in.
Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2002 - 8:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am an absinthe virgin. I'm also American, chicken about testing the law, and above all things...poor, so I really can't buy the real stuff. But I'd like to get a feel for the taste of absinthe, and the whole ritual. As the experts you are, can anyone give me advice on what the best absinthe substitutes out there are? I was thinking Herbsaint, but then I read that some of you only think it's good for cooking... And I hear Absente is all hype and really bad. So, any opinions on the pastis that comes closest?

Also, cheap spoon and glass offers? Absente has that $8 offer, but the glasses look like mini beer glasses to me, and have that logo on them... does anyone know of any other good deals on relatively realistic looking stuff?

Thanks a billion.

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