The legal status of absinthe in this country is still kind of up in the air, but we now have two producers of the spirit: St. George’s Distillery in Alameda, Calif., which began selling it last December, and now the newcomer Sirene Absinthe Verte from North Shore Distillery just north of Chicago. The latter hit the market just this month after debuting at WhiskyFest. Chicagoist has some tasting notes from the event:
The 110 proof white absinthe has a sharp, herbal bite to it. the 124 proof green absinthe is, oddly, smoother than the white. It also has an amazing mouthfeel. With absinthe shaping up as the year’s new hot spirit, this should sell well.
In fact, it’s likely going to sell so quickly that you’ll be lucky to get your hands on a bottle. Unfortunately for those of us outside of California and Chicago, these two will be especially tough to find.
Until just last year, the importation of absinthe was prohibited, and the only way to get it was to very carefully hide it away in your luggage and hope that no one in customs felt the need to verify your declaration. In 2007, a few brands were approved for sale, but they had to meet the FDA’s ban of thujone in consumable products.
Thujone’s the bad guy here, the one that’s been blamed for all of the evils supposedly brought about by absinthe consumption. It can wreak havoc on your brain and nervous system if consumed in large quantities. But by the time you’ve drunk enough absinthe, which can be up to 75 percent alcohol, to experience any effects from the thujone, you’re dead from alcohol poisoning.
We’re not exactly running out immediately to try absinthe — we’ve never been particularly fond of anise-flavored foods — but we love the ceremony involved with drinking absinthe. The special spoons, the cube of sugar, and the precise way of pouring the ice cold water over it.
Introducing Sirene Absinthe Verte [North Shore Distillery]
St. George Spirits [Official Site]
Sorry, Absinthe Trippers: Scientists Say You’re Just Really Drunk [Wired]
Chicagoist at WhiskeyFest [Chicagoist]