Archive through October 8, 2000

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Oct 2000:Fear is a man's best friend (?):Archive through October 8, 2000
By Artemis on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 06:18 am: Edit

To expand a little; Marc nailed it in his appraisal of Perruche's review. This is why the Buyer's Guide should not be reduced to a set of facts. The more a review reads like Hunter Thompson wrote it, the better I like it. If anybody is intrigued enough to try the product in question, he'll quickly judge for himself what the "facts" are, and that's as it should be. That Buyer's Guide could certainly be improved, but it is unique, just as this forum is, because it is NOT your father's Oldsmobile.

I hereby nominate Perruche's review of the DIY most foul for enshrinement in the Guide and hope Kallisti will see fit to create a niche for it.

By Artemis on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 05:52 am: Edit

Most excellent report. More than I hoped for.

Thank you.

By Chrysippvs on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 03:44 am: Edit

"The 150 proof stuff was best served with the flaming sugar cube as in the “Czech ritual” (yes, it doesn’t louche, people; what did you expect?), while the other stuff was best with mix -- ginger ale and lime Jarritos both worked pretty well."

There has always been something unsettling to me about lighting a sugar cubes atop a glass of 150-190% alcohol....How fast is it again that fire can run up a curtain?

By Marc on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 03:02 am: Edit

Phil Fear's kits may suck, but they inspired one of the most enjoyable posts I've read in a long time. That bootleg hootch may be foul, but, man, it whipped your tongue into action. A very cool piece of prose,perruche.

By Perruche_verte on Sunday, October 08, 2000 - 02:24 am: Edit

As requested, here is my account of an experiment with the faux absinthe recipe formulated by Phil “Fear” Heiple, which can be found on his website at []. Fear sells kits to make his homebrew, and his site is linked to the Absinthe Ring, which probably gets him quite a few hits. This makes a review of his recipe worthwhile.

We actually tried two batches, one with 100 proof vodka and one with 150 proof Everclear. (Note: Everclear is a grain alcohol [ethanol] sold as a beverage in the US. It is typically 190 proof (95% alcohol). In some US states, like mine, the law does not allow it to be sold above 150 proof (75%). Presumably it is diluted with distilled water for sale here.) The Everclear steep produced an impressive yellowish-green color, while the vodka produced an amber brown.

The final product, after steeping and filtering, had a strong, quite appealing floral scent but was (as one might expect) dominated by the bitter, caustic, undistilled wormwood taste. The other herbs in the mixture, notably the fennel and the angelica, are evident in the tincture and improve the drinkability somewhat, but essentially this stuff is a vermifuge, not a social beverage. It may have other uses, such as curing periodontal disease or cold sores, but I haven’t yet investigated these possibilities. The 150 proof stuff was best served with the flaming sugar cube as in the “Czech ritual” (yes, it doesn’t louche, people; what did you expect?), while the other stuff was best with mix -- ginger ale and lime Jarritos both worked pretty well.

Oddly, Fear does not recommend using Everclear. This is strange, since the Everclear product preserved a nice chlorophyll color and was, if anything, less bitter than the 100 proof concoction, with more flavor from the other herbs. Probably he is talking about the 190 proof variety, which would be somewhat more dangerous if served to inexperienced drinkers.

Somewhat against my better judgement, my housemates and I served this stuff at a ceili. We shoved the furniture out of the living room and had my band play with a dance caller. There was kegged beer, wine, chips, salsa, bread, marmalade and my homemade spicy lentil dip. It was a very nice low-budget affair; everybody had a great time and we raised money for charity. All night, I kept hearing people over my shoulder saying, “Oh, it’s bitter… yuck, horrible… can I have another one?”

Late in the evening, I heard my housemate say, “Yeah, it tastes like ass, but it’ll get you there.” That stung. Never again do I want to purvey anything that “tastes like ass” but will “get you there”. I have learned my lesson. Part of that lesson, though, is that there is a certain degree of masochism in a lot of people’s drinking, and I am not immune to that. I like a challenging drink, a wine tasting of oak, a beer with a good dose of hops, sweet in the nose, bitter on the tongue. I think absinthe distillers ignore such needs at their peril.

One young fellow apparently took advantage of a change in bartenders to take more drink than was good for him. He had four shots of the Everclear steep, with predictable results. Once we persuaded him to get out of the bathtub, he came to life again pretty rapidly and was fine in the morning. However, he will never drink a steeped wormwood product again, and neither will I.

Phil Heiple sounds like the kind of guy I’d admire. He’s an old punk rock DJ and has apparently dedicated himself to a DIY lifestyle in many ways; his website will teach you how to build a solar power generator, practice “gardening as an anarchist plot”, use herbal medicine and make paper dolls of famous radicals. The only problem with DIY is that some things are more expensive and less effective done on your own. With good distilled absinthe available quite inexpensively over the Web, there is no need to steep it at home, unless you want to produce something that for about half the cost of Deva is less than a tenth as drinkable. (Distilling it at home might be another matter, but for the obvious legal and safety issues.)

Probably everyone in this forum knows this already, but it’s worth repeating. Someone is buying this guy’s kits. I don’t begrudge him selling the produce from his garden, which he apparently tends very well, but people should know what they’re buying and what its limits are.

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