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HISTORICAL RECIPES


For more information on ingredients mentioned in this section, see: Homebrew Resources

Note on Recipes, March 2003:

Turning over a fuille morte. As of March 2003 I am throwing out all non-historical recipes. I left them up for years because, more or less, this is all we had, these strange and bogus vodka soak herb recipes that mysteriously appeared on the internet sometime in 1992-93.

Well, no more, this site will no longer give them the credibility they never deserved.

That said, these recipes are provided as a historical curiosity for the information hungry only. Distilling of alcohols is illegal in many countries, including the U.S. Do not try this at home.

Now the cocktails on the other hand, are tres yummy.

Swiss Absinthe of Pontarlier

For full Bedel text see: 1899 Treatise on Liqueurs

Grand Wormwood, dried and stripped 2 kil. 500
Green Anise 5
Fennel of Florence 5
Alcohol at 85 degrees 95 litres

Macerate the ingredients with the alcohol for twelve hours or less in a double boiler, then add 45 liters of water heated to 60-80 degrees, and distill slowly, preferably with steam, to obtain 95 liters of product which will be used to prepare the liqueur. Nevertheless, continue distilling, just until the liquid coming out of the still reads zero on the alcohol meter. This blanquette, though only slightly alcoholic, is precious; it contains much essence and it is poured into subsequent batches along with the alcohol and the plants.

The distilled liquid, very fragrant, is white or color- less like water. To transform it into absinthe, it is necessary to color it and reinforce its fragrance.

To obtain a green color, one takes:

Petite Wormwood, dried and stripped 1 kilogr.
Hyssop (dried heads and flowers) 1
Lemon Balm, dried and cleaned 500 gram.

All these ingredients being as finely divided as possible, that is to say, cut, chopped, or crushed; one places them into a double boiler along with the previously distilled product, or better yet into an apparatus called a colorator, of galvanized copper, heated by hot water circulation or by steam, and one heats everything to just around 50 degrees centigrade. Under the influence of this temperature, the plants yield to the liqueur their main natural coloring, chlorophyll, and their fragrance. One cools gently, and passes the colored liquid through a hair sieve, letting the plants drain well, and one adds the quantity of water necessary to reduce (the alcohol content) to 74 degrees and to makeup (the quantity) to 100 liters, and one places it into barrels to age. It is time which finishes the quality.

As translated from the French by Artemis

Swiss Absinthe of Montpellier

For full Bedel text see: 1899 Treatise on Liqueurs

Grand Wormwood, dried and stripped 2 kil. 500
Green Anise 6
Fennel of Florence 4
Coriander 1
Angelica Seeds 500 gram.
Alcohol at 85 degrees 95 liters.

Coloration is done with

Petite Wormwood 1 kilogr.
Dried Moldavian Melissa 750 gram.
Dried Hyssop Flowers 750

The procedure is the same as before.

As translated from the French by Artemis



Absinthe Ale

This is a recipe I got from an old book called "The English Hous-wife", circa 1656, which contained a recipe for "Wormwood Water".

2 gallons Ale
1 pound Aniseed
1/2 lb Licorice
2 handfulls dried wormwood
Grind finely the Aniseed, Licorice and mix with the Wormwood and Ale. Let stand overnight. Then heat over a moderate fire.


Scientific American Recipe by Dr. Arnold

Distilled
2.5 kilograms of dried wormwood
5 kilograms of anise
5 kilograms of fennel
95 liters of 85 percent ethanol
45 liters of water
1 kilogram of Roman wormwood
1 kilogram of hyssop
500 grams of lemon balm

An 1855 recipe from Pontarlier, France, gives the following instructions for making absinthe: Macerate 2.5 kilograms of dried wormwood, 5 kilograms of anise and 5 kilograms of fennel in 95 liters of 85 percent ethanol by volume. Let the mixture steep for at least 12 hours in the pot of a double boiler. Add 45 liters of water and apply heat; collect 95 liters of distillate. To 40 liters of the distillate, add 1 kilogram of Roman wormwood, 1 kilogram of hyssop and 500 grams of lemon balm, all of which have been dried and finely divided. Extract at a moderate temperature, then siphon off the liquor, filter, and reunite it with the remaining 55 liters of distillate. Dilute with water to produce approximately 100 liters of absinthe with a final alcohol concentration of 74 percent by volume (4).

 

797. To Make Absinthe by Distillation.
From "Dick's Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts & Processes or How They Did It in the 1870's", by Dick Brisbane, first published 1870

Put the follwing ingredients into a cask:

1 1/2 pounds large absinthe (wormwood, artemisia absinthium)
2 pounds small absinthe (petit wormwood, roman wormwood, artemisia pontica)
2 1/2 pounds long fennel
2 1/2 pounds star anise (breaking the star only)
2 1/2 pounds green anise seed
6 ounces coriander seed
1 pound hyssop

Moisten the whole with a little water, allowing it time to soften and swell; then add 12 gallons 95 percent alcohol, and steep for 2 or 3 days; next add 10 gallons water, and let the whole steep for 1 day more. The water will reduce the alcohol to about 23 gallons of proof spirit. Distill it, and it will produce nearly 15 gallons absinthe of 65 to 70 percent strenght. Change the receiver as soon as the spirit, as it comes from the worm, begins to assume a reddish tinge. Color the distilled product, by steeping in it for 10 or 15 days:

1/2 pound mint leaves
1/4 pound melissa leaves
1/2 pound small absinthe (petit wormwood, roman wormwood, artemisia pontica)
2 ounces citron peel
1/2 pound brused liquorice root

Strain and Filter

Please See: Dick's Notes on Distillation

 

798. Absinthe by Distillation
From "Dick's Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts & Processes or How They Did It in the 1870's", by Dick Brisbane, first published 1870

This is made in the same manner as in the former receipt (recipe), with the following ingredients:

40 gallons 75 percent spirits
20 pounds fennel
20 pounds green anise
16 pounds large absinthe (wormwood, artemisia absinthium)
1 pound coriander
20 gallons water

This is colored, after distillation, by adding; 4 pounds small absinthe and heating it again as hot as the hand can bear; then extinguish the fire, let it cool, settle, and filter it.

Please See: Dick's Notes on Distillation

 

The Practical Distiller Recipe, 1889
Excerpted from "The Practical Distiller," by Leonard Montzert, 1889.

The operation of distilling French liqueurs, such as anisette, absinthe, curacoa, maraschino, etc., should be performed in a regular cordial still, fitted with a water bath. Absinthe is a product of Switzerland. It is well known on both continents as a powerful stimulant and is highly esteemed by the French. The greater portion used in this country (he means the USA) is imported in bottles from the country from whence it originated. The manner of producing this liqueur was for many years kept a profound secret, being handed down from father to son for generations. It is now prepared to a certain extent in this country by a French cordial manufacturers, who have succeeded in producing an Absinthe which, when ripened by age, is in every way equal to that which is imported, and, in fact can not be distinguished from it.

Take 20 pounds long absinthe (wormwood)
24 pounds small absinthe (Roman Wormwood/Pontica)
33 pounds green anise seed
33 pounds fennel
33 pounds star anise
4 pounds coriander seeds
10 pieces hyssop.

Put all of these ingredients into 125 gallons (473 liters) of fine spirits at 190 proof. Allow this to remain twenty days, stirring once every day, at the expiration of which time the whole substance is put into a cordial still, together with fifteen gallons of water, and distilled.

The distilling in this case requires great precaution in its management. The heat must be kept uniform throughout the whole operation, so that the liquor will flow very regularly; not to fast, as that would render the product bitter; not to slowly, as it would be milky.

The exact heat required in this instance can only be learned by experience; the operator must be guided by the flavor and aroma of the running liquor, during the process.

When the charge is nearly run off, a fact which is ascertained by comparing the amount distilled, with that which has been put in the still, keep a strict watch for the feints, or low wines; this is indicated by the running diminishing in size and the liquor becoming milky.

At this stage of the operation, the receiver must be changed, and the feints run off separately, as they are not suitable for mixing with the clear running. The quality of the product will depend in a great measure on the proper observation of this latter precaution.

If quantity is more an object than quality, or if a second quality is desired, as soon as the feints appear, add more water to the dregs in the still and distill again; this second drawing may be mixed with the first or used as second class goods.

When the distillation is completed, the next thing is to color the liquor. For this purpose take as follows:

5 pounds mint leaves,
2 1/2 pounds melissa leaves,
3 1/2 pounds hyssop,
5 pounds small absinthe,
5 pounds liquorice root (cut).
1 1/2 pounds citron peel.

Put the ingredients in the liquor which has been distilled, and allow the whole to remain until the desired color is obtained; then draw it off into another cask and reduce the alcoholic strength to 120 proof, or in other words, 60 percent, and it is ready for bottling.


DUPLAIS' SWISS ABSINTHE OF LYON
(For 100 liters)

SOURCE: TREATISE ON THE MANUFACTURE OF LIQUEURS AND ON THE DISTILLATION OF ALCOHOLS

By P. Duplais
Edited by M. Arpin and E. Portier
Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1900

Translated by Artemis © 2003.

Grand Wormwood, dried 3 kg
Green Anise 8 kg
Fennel of Florence 4 kg
Angelica Seeds 500 gram
Alcohol at 85 degrees 95 liters

Color

Lemon Balm, dried and culled 1 kg
Petite Wormwood, dried 1 kg
Dried Hyssop Flowers 500 gram
Dried Veronica 500 gram

DUPLAIS' SWISS ABSINTHE OF FOUGEROLLES
(For 600 liters)

SOURCE: TREATISE ON THE MANUFACTURE OF LIQUEURS AND ON THE DISTILLATION OF ALCOHOLS

By P. Duplais
Edited by M. Arpin and E. Portier
Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1900

Translated by Artemis © 2003.

Green Anise 45 kg
Fennel of Florence 25 kg
Grand Wormwood, stripped 16 kg

Color

Lemon Balm 4.5 kg
Hyssop 3.5 kg
Petite wormwood 4 kg
Veronica 4 kg
Alcohol at 85 degrees 570 liters
Water 300 liters

Macerate the ingredients with the alcohol in the apparatus for at least twelve hours; add water at the time of distillation, to withdraw 570 liters of scented spirit; once this quantity has been obtained, continue distillation, to obtain phlegms, which will be set aside and used in another operation; reduce to 74 degrees.

DUPLAIS' SWISS ABSINTHE OF BESANCON
(For 600 liters)

SOURCE: TREATISE ON THE MANUFACTURE OF LIQUEURS AND ON THE DISTILLATION OF ALCOHOLS

By P. Duplais
Edited by M. Arpin and E. Portier
Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1900

Translated by Artemis © 2003.

Grand Wormwood, stripped 24 kg
Green Anise 30 kg
Fennel of Florence 40 kg
Coriander 4 kg

Color:

Melissa 3 kg
Petite wormwood 6 kg
Hyssop 5.5 kg
Veronica 4 kg
Alcohol at 85 degrees 570 liters
Water 300 liters

Procedure is the same as before.