Posted by: Jessie | January 8, 2010

Enjoying Absinthe, Starting with Lucid


True absinthe has the “holy trinity” of anise, fennel, and wormwood.  It also has other herbs, but the main favors are these three.   Absinthe is made with distilled herbs and then it is colored by steeping more herbs in the distilled liquor.  This is where it gets its green color.  Cheaper absinthes use artificial colors.  Some of the Suisse absinthes are not colored at all.   

The traditional way to drink absinthe is to pour a dose into the glass, put the spoon over the top of the glass, put a sugar cube (or two) on the spoon, and slowly dribble water over the sugar so that it dissolves into the absinthe.  Notice as you do this it releases the natural oils from the herbs.  As the oil releases and the absinthe mixes with water it begins to “louche.”  (That’s pronounced “loo-sh.”)  It gets cloudy and releases the aroma from the herbs.    

Lucid Ad

   

Out of all the absinthes on the market, Lucid is a good place to start.  It is a good “middle of the road” absinthe.  Lucid is to absinthe what Stoli is to vodka.  It was the first true absinthe available in the United States since prohibition.  In 2006 Viridian Spirits, LLC and Ted Breaux began working to convince the government to lift the ban on absinthe.  They finally succeeded in 2007, giving them a jump on the absinthe market in the US.      

People write absinthe tasting notes a complexly as wine tasting notes.  I, personally, am not good at minute detail, so my reviews will be a bit more general.  Lucid tastes like big, fat, juicy black jelly bean.  With herbs.  That’s the anise.  (People think it’s licorice, but licorice is really flavored with anise.)  Lucid is heavy on the anise and light on the other flavors, it’s not overly complex.  When it is first poured it has a light Peridot green color.  As the water is added it louches slowly, becoming more and more whiteish opaque.    

If you want to drink it the traditional way, be sure to use sugar.  I used to think Lucid is a little horrible without sugar.  As I got more used to the flavor of wormwood my opinion changed.  If you are new to absinthe, I recommend starting with two sugar cubes. 

Lucid is green when you first pour it, but it louches to a milky white

Lucid makes some lovely mixed drinks.  If you get the gift box try the recipes on the back of the box.  Yummy!  Don’t try to drink it straight, it’s 120 proof.  The anise in it will numb your tongue a bit.  Last summer I made some Lucid ice cream, and it was wonderful.  The sugar and the cream brought out some of the other herbs in the absinthe giving it a pleasant and complex flavor.   

For the detailed review of Lucid check out The Wormwood Society website.   

For a video showing the absinthe ritual, check out this video on YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77oBap9VC2U   

Here’s one of my favorite Lucid cocktails:   

Starry Night   

  •  2 1/2 oz. Chocolate Vodka 
  •  1/2 oz. LUCID®
  •  1/2 oz. simple syrup
  •  Crushed chocolate cookie on rim
  •  Garnish = Chinese Star Anise floating
  •  Glassware = Martini Glass

 In an iced filled shaker, add the Vodka, LUCID® and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and strain into the chocolate crumbed rim martini glass. Add the Chinese Star Anise   

Here’s another one:   

for more drink recipes go to http://www.drinklucid.com

 

Are you feeling adventurous?  Try this Lucid ice cream recipe.  This recipe works because Lucid and sugar are friends.  I’m not sure I would try this with any other absinthe. 

 Lucid Ice Cream

2 Quarts Half and Half
1- 3/4 cups egg yolks
3  cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup Lucid

Slowly heat the absinthe to a boil, then turn it off and let it cool.  This cooks off some of the alcohol.  Without this step the alcohol in the absinthe may prevent the ice cream from freezing.
Scald the milk, do not bring it to a boil, just look for bubbles to form around at the edge of the milk. Scalding helps develop the milks flavor and the temperature works to cook the yolks without scrambling them.
Whip the yolks and sugars together thoroughly.  Add the Scalded milk to the fluffy yolk/sugar mixture and stir them together. Add the absinthe. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to ice cream maker directions.  

 

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Responses

  1. The absinthe icecream sounds delicious. I’m going to give it a try this weekend. But I’ll be using LaBleue Clandestine instead of Lucid. I like the flavor of the Clandestine better. It has some mild honey-floral overtones and less anise flavor.

  2. LaBleue Clandestine has such a light, delicate flavor… I’ve never considered mixing it with sugar, much less cream! Let me know how it comes out.

  3. Be careful cooking the Absinthe, sound very, very flamible to me, and I am a bit of daredevil in the kithen and with fire. Really, keep a lid close by in case it fireballs and don’t lean over the pot!


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