Home-made Absinthe - Does it work?

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Old Topics Archived Thru Sep 2000:Home-made Absinthe - Does it work?
By peter marc on Tuesday, September 26, 2000 - 01:41 am: Edit

no offense taken...i need all the correction
i can get :)

peter marc

By JKK on Monday, September 25, 2000 - 03:28 pm: Edit

Damn! I posted a response on Friday and now I see it didn't go through. Anyway, there was no criticism intended. My French is very rusty as I haven't been to the country, except for an afternoon stopover, since 1986, haven't taken a French course since 1989--the year I graduated from UCLA--and have been concentrating on Russian since then. I'm not trying to knock anybody.

By peter marc on Saturday, September 23, 2000 - 01:33 am: Edit

merde...3 months at the alliance française...6
years with my french wife...1 year living in france, and i still spell like a spanish cow...
damn those genders...

By JKK on Friday, September 22, 2000 - 02:35 pm: Edit

The correct form is "la vraie absinthe."

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 02:14 am: Edit


I would advise you to buy a bottle each of the absinthes available from Spirits Corner and have a tasting. You will get the whole range delivered to your door for around the same price as two bottles of Mari Mayans bought locally (am I right in thinking you are based in the UK?). Each of the Spanish brands offers a slightly different experience and it is fun to taste in parallel. I have also discovered that adding sugar can change the experience. None of these absinthes really need it but it can be nice if you are in the mood and the ritual does add to the enjoyment. Try a glass of Deva with sugar and then without and see how bitter it then seems.


By peter marc on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 03:39 pm: Edit

i have only tasted lasala, which i had at a bar
in barcelona. bought two bottles to bring north
with me at the equivalent of $8 each. gave one to
my french father-in-law who lives in marseille.
all the uncles and he are real pastis drinkers, as is almost everyone in marseille. i thought he would keep it for a novelty but has shared over half the bottle with friends and family. i, as he
find it to be more complex (not difficult) than
the typical pastis (ricard...no one drinks pernod
in marseille, that i have seen)the flavor is very
much fennel, not so much anis. i like it but it
doesn't louche. only needs about a half a sugar
cube for me. when versinthe arrives in the us,
you will have an excellent (legal, and i'm
sure much cheaper, my guess is it will sell for
around $35-40) but high quality substitute.
it hasn't really caught on here, yet...i think
mostly because the real pastis drinkers can't stand the idea of paying 140francs a bottle when
they can buy other pastis for between 35 and 75
francs (divide by 7.5 for dollars) oh, by the way
the phrase "le vrai absinthe" is not spelled correctly on the lasala label since absinthe is feminine (how appropriate) and should be " 'la' vrai absinthe"
the french find this amusing as it is copied from
many brands of pastis "le vrai pastis", etc. (pastis is masculine) using the same motto as
many brands of absinthe in the past...

By Bob Chong on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 03:03 pm: Edit

I like Lasala. Less of the overpowering anise flavor of Deva--tho' I like Deva, too.


By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 12:54 pm: Edit

Lasala is a bit better than Montana, although it has a lemon taste to it..interesting but odd. It also has a somewhat bitter flavor that I like..Better than montana but not as good as Deva..Montana and Lasala seem to be thin perhaps..not sure what it is but seems to not be herbal enough..like some la bleues that are too antiseptic

I would recommend anyone to drink every absinthe they can...despite any negative reviews..it improves the palate...they are all both good and bad in some respects but they are all worth trying if the option is open.

By LordHobgoblin on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 12:46 pm: Edit


What about Lasalla? I haven't tasted it either although I've heard it's in the same bracket as Deva and Mari Mayans.


By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 11:09 am: Edit

Serpis has a really odd feel to it. It is greasy like all Spanish brands and too heavy on the star anise (like all spanish brands). to make matters odder it has a strange citrus taste to it..really odd. It has a nice louche, like a peach white.

All in all..I bought 1 bottle and have had 3 glasses..it sits on amy shelf.

As for Montana...it is wormwood flavored pastis..little louche..not very impressive...

all opinions

By LordHobgoblin on Tuesday, September 19, 2000 - 10:46 am: Edit

Serpis 55 and Montana Absinthe, can anybody who has sampled these give me their opinion. Are they worth buying?

Morrigan le Fey,

Glad to see I'm not alone with having floaties on my Deva.


By Morrigan Le Fey on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 07:53 pm: Edit

Hobgoblin -

I've had the same residue thing happen (with Deva), when imbibed at very cold temps. 'Thought it was merely space aliens, but now I guess I know better.

- Morrigan

By Don Walsh on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 07:29 pm: Edit

Mr Wormwood: absinthium properly harvested is upper leaves and flowering tops -- stems are not desirable.

Source: Merck Index.

This is also consistent with the absinthium we purchase and use.

By LordHobgoblin on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 10:13 am: Edit

Mr Wormwood / Tabreaux,

My question has indeed been answered. As this had never happened to me before I was a little concerned that I had opened a dodgy bottle of Deva, thankfully this is not the case. I thought that the absinthe did taste slightly different,(i.e. a bit less aniseedy) but perhaps this was due to my expecting it to taste this way as I had noticed the aniseed tasting scum had risen to the top of the drink.

Many thanks to both of you for getting back to me.


By Mr. Wormwood on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 09:57 am: Edit

I think you answered you question by tasting it. Some of the components of aniseed will form hard waxy "floaties" in very cold water solutions.

I have never seen them in absinthe but it happens all the time when you put ice in ouzo.

By Tabreaux on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 09:01 am: Edit

The 'scum' was some herbal essence residue which floated to the top when it came out of solution.

By LordHobgoblin on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 08:02 am: Edit

Mr Wormwood,

Thanks for your advice. I only added the flowers because I believed that was where the thujone was concentrated. Also I'm just steeping the product not distilling. It was just an experiment really, only 1 bottle, no big deal. I've since been told that I shouldn't attempt to drink my concoction.

Ah well you live and learn.

Anyway I've another question that somebody may be able to shed light upon. Yesterday evening I poured myself a glass of Deva and something peculiar happened (no not due to my drinking too much of it) but the following happened. As normal I poured the absinthe into the glass, dropped in 3 large ice-cubes and put my spoon over the glass with a couple of sugar lumps on the spoon. I then added a little water to the sugar cubes just enough to saturate them and left the sugar to disolve for 5 minutes, came back added a little more water and went away again. All fairly normal procedure.

When I came back the glass of absinthe had a sort of scaley looking scum developed on the surface, I tasted this and it appeared that the anniseed had seperated out from the absinth and risen to the top. Most peculiar I thought. I'd be interested if anybody know why this would happen.


By Mr. Wormwood on Monday, September 18, 2000 - 04:42 am: Edit

Why did you only add the wormwood flowers? You are not making vermouth. Absinthe is flavored with wormwood plants 2 year old ones are prefered, stems and flowers and all.

Don't expect any good results this is not homebrewing. Novices absinthe makers rarly acheive drinkable results (without distilling). If you live in the UK or the USA the risks of operating a still (going to prison) outway the benifits (mediocre absinthe).

By Chrysippvs on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 12:04 pm: Edit

mmm mmm good..just like mama used to make

By Tabreaux on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 11:53 am: Edit

While some of the herbs are edible, absinthium (and other herbs) is not. The bitter priniciples of absinthium are very irritating to the stomach, and alcohol can only exacerbate things. Some persons have reported stomach irritation, and in one case, vomiting after consuming someone's steeped 'project'.

By LordHobgoblin on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 10:20 am: Edit

Question for Tabreaux.

Thanks for your advice on trying to make home-brew absinthe by steeping herbs. You mention that "..Some persons have reported upset stomachs (early sign of poisoning?) following ingestion of steeped products..". Have you any suggestions as to why this should be so as most of the herbs used would be entirely edible under normal circumstances. Is it the Wormwood flowers that contain a degree of poison?

I'd be interested to know if either yourself or anyone else can shed any light on this.

Many thanks,

Lord Hobgoblin

By Lord Hobgoblin on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 01:29 am: Edit

Many thanks.

Lord Hobgoblin

By Bob Chong on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 12:50 am: Edit


They are located in Spain.

You can order online...secure and all that good stuff. You can even fax your order, if you prefer (number can be found on the web site). They have six different kinds of absinthe for sale.

Though there are plenty of "extortionately priced" vendors with their 400% mark-ups, SpiritsCorner is not one of them, thankfully.


By Lord Hobgoblin on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 12:06 am: Edit


Many thanks for this info. I do live in the UK and 4 bottles of Deva for £50 is very good value indeed. You don't by any chance have SpiritsCorner's web-site address or phone number or other contact details.

Lord Hobgoblin

By Bob Chong on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 01:30 pm: Edit


The Spanish stuff is "extortionately priced"? Maybe you're buying from the wrong places. SpiritsCorner can send you stuff via ground transport (I assume you are in the UK) for pretty cheap. Four bottles of Deva would run about 79 EUR total, or about 50 pounds. Not bad, considering you'd pay 39 pounds for a single bottle of La Fee or 47 pounds for a bottle of Hills through some of the UK online retailers.


By Lord Hobgoblin on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 01:04 pm: Edit

Thanks for your help Ted. Unfortunately it looks like my mixture isn't going to work out. I'll just have to go back to drinking good quality but extortionately priced Spanish Absenta and Czech Absinth.

(Unfortunately not all of us have the depth of knowledge and experience as the venerable Chrysippvs who by all accounts is a great scholar in such matters)

Best wishes,

Lord Hobgoblin

By Tabreaux on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 11:12 am: Edit

Good one Justin! (It was a only a joke. No one's recipe was stolen, except for maybe that of a Czech producer.)

Actually, what Lord Hobgoblin will end up with is probably closer to the bogus Czech product, "Absinth King".

What is relevent here is that in order to make decent absinthe (which requires distillation) you need substantial quantities of properly prepared herbs. Before this is distilled, it tastes horribly nasty. It is not possible to drink this. The only way a steeped liquor can be made drinkable is if much less herbal content is used, and because the unwanted principles are not removed, it will still be grossly inferior in taste (and content) to a distilled product. In no way shape of form can something steeped approach the herbal content of distilled products and remain drinkable. Some persons have reported upset stomachs (early sign of poisoning?) following ingestion of steeped products.

Therefore, about all you can hope for is something like "Absinth King" which is a poor product, and nothing remotely close to the original liqueur. As far as a thujone effect, it would take an unbearably bitter and nasty volume of wormwood to contribute a significant amount of thujone to the product.

By Lord Hobgoblin on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 11:05 am: Edit

Who's Don and what's his recipe that I'm supposoed to have stolen, news to me!!

By Chrysippvs on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 10:40 am: Edit

Hey They stole Don's recipe...

By Lord Hobgoblin on Friday, September 15, 2000 - 10:25 am: Edit

In an attempt to produce some home-made absinth I've done used the following.

Put the total flowers of 1 wormwood plant (small plant about 3 foot tall), a half a cup of fresh fennel seeds, a quarter cup of fresh mint and about an eighth of a cup of fresh rosemary in a food processor and chopped them up together. I then put 15g of dried Star Anise, (couldn't get hold of aniseed) in a pestle and mortar and ground it up. I then added all these ingredients to three quarters of a 70cl bottle of Grain Alcohol (95% alcohol). I'm now leaving this to steep and hopefully get something like Absinthe. The colour of the liquid has gone a beautiful green and although it's only been steeping now for 2 days it does tastes a bit like Absinthe (naturally not a like good quality Absinthe of course) and it does louche well. (Last year I tried steeping wormwood flowers in a bottle of Pastis and I ended up with a vile foul brown coloured undrinkable concoction).

From those of you who know about making Absinthe at home I'd be grateful if you could help me with 2 questions.

Firstly, will the method used above work?

Secondly, if so how long should I leave the mixture to steep to get the best taste and optimum thujone effect?

Many thanks,

Lord Hobgoblin

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