Posted by: Jessie | January 11, 2010

St. George Absinthe


After we came back from New Orleans last year we decided to check out our favorite liquor store and see if they carried any absinthe.  It turned out they had 3 or 4 different brands.  I talked to the liquor guy, who did not know much about absinthe, so I puzzled and puzzled about it.  My husband chimed in and said “I wanna try the one in the apothecary bottle.”  I didn’t pay much attention at the time.  I ended up getting the bottle of Lucid because I had read something saying that the best absinthe comes in a dark bottle.  The dark glass preserves it better.

After we got home and tried the Lucid my husband again said “I wanna try the one in the apothecary bottle.  It has a cool label.”  How weird.  This is the man who will no longer allow me to pick out the wine at the wine store because I always pick the one with the pretty label.  It usually doesn’t taste as good as it looks.

St. George has interesting packaging

Ok.  So I went ahead and looked into the absinthe with the cool looking bottle, St. George.  It turns out that it is the first absinthe produced in the United States since prohibition.  It’s made in California, right across the bay from San Francisco.  It was released on December 21, 2007.  (I wonder if there is any significance to it’s being released on the solstice?)  St. George is different from other absinthes because it uses a brandy base rather then a neutral grain spirits base.  It contains the holy trinity of wormwood, anise and fennel, but it also has some herbal ingredients not commonly used in absinthe.  These are listed on the bottle.  Having studied herbs a bit in my youth I liked the fact that I was familiar with almost all of the herbs listed, most of them either had medicinal uses or tonic uses.  All of them taste good.  Except for the wormwood.

St. George says this about their absinthe: “St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte is made with fine brandy, star anise, mint, wormwood, lemon balm, hyssop, meadowsweet, basil, fennel, tarragon and stinging nettles. This infamous liquor reveals seductive flavors of anise complimented with sweet grassy tones, light citrus, white pepper, and light menthol notes.”  Sounds interesting.  So after we finished the bottle of Lucid was gone I went out and bought a bottle of St. George.  It turned out to be very different from Lucid.  It was much herbier… more complex flavors.  The color was darker, the louche was different.

A day or two after buying the Saint George absinthe I was feeling under the weather.  I asked Eric to make me a hot toddy.  (Eric makes the best hot toddies, he uses raw local honey and fresh lemons.)  When he asked me what booze I wanted in it, I asked for St. George.  Certainly with all those medicinal herbs it would cure whatever ailed me!  It turned out to be the BEST hot toddy I had EVER had.  The anise numbed my sore throat a bit.  The alcohol vapors helped clear my sinuses a bit.  I decided I was going to check my email, finish my hot toddy and go to bed early.   My sister Amy sent me an instant message.  It turns out that she was sick too, and she was drinking a hot toddy too.  I don’t know what was in her hot toddies, but she drank 3 of them and passed out.  She felt worse in the morning.  I, on the other hand, felt completely better in the morning.  Way to go, St. George!

Tasting notes…  It tastes like absinthe to me.  I know, I know, I sound like that guy in the movie “Sideways.”  I used to hate those wine reviews where they say silly things like “highlight of fresh raspberries with an old leather finish and nuances of burnt toast.”  Right.  I used to tell them that they couldn’t fool me.  There was no leather nor toast in this wine, only grapes.  The weird thing is that after being dragged to enough wine tastings over the span of about two years I began to understand what they were talking about.

Unfortunately I have only been drinking absinthe for about a year and have not been exposed to conesuers and tastings.  I am embarking on this journey mostly alone, with a little input from my Sweetie.  Just on its own, it just tastes like absinthe.  When I compare it to Lucid, I can pick up on some of the grassy and floral notes that the other tasters are talking about.  Especially after I’ve let it sit for a bit.  It has a complex flavor and is not as powerful and edgy as Lucid.  When I first tasted it about a year ago I prefered it with sugar, but now I like it a little better without.  I guess that’s what happens when your palate developes.  It’s the same with wine, when you first start drinking it you prefer the sweeter wines, but as your palate developes you begin to appreciate the dry wines.

Of course the Wormwood society has some detailed reviews and tasting notes for St. George.  Click here to read them: http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=377

CHOW interviewed Lance Winters from St. George about Absinthe.  He had some very interesting things to say.  Check it out on youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxOGv6jHRKE

St. George has a dark green color

St. George gracefully louches to a murky green.

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Responses

  1. […] articles on absinthe: Lucid, with review and recipes.  St. George, La Clandestine, Jade Nouvelle Orleans, Corsair Red, Vieux Carre, […]

  2. I enjoyed your review. I have seen the Chow video you mentioned and was levitating towards the St. George bottle when I purchased my first bottle of absinthe. The guy at the store hadn’t tried St. George, but had tried others and he recommended I start with Pernod and warned me to stay away from Mansinthe. I’m definitely going to try St. George next.
    By the way, can you share where you purchased the water fountain. Thanks!

    • Hey Ms Jen X! I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I had fun writing it.

      I don’t remember where I got my absinthe fountain. I got it a few years ago when absinthe was still new on the US market. I either bought it from a local liquor store or I ordered it online… possibly from the Lucid website. Now there is a much larger selection available then there was back then, some of them are really beautiful!

      Pernod is a good place to start with Absinthe. Very “black jelly bean” and not too herbal. Some of the other ones are more complex. St. George is my favorite winter absinthe due to the brandy base and herbal flavors. It also makes the best hot toddies! La Clandestine is my favorite summer absinthe because it is so crisp and floral. Very refreshing on a hot summer day.

      Welcome to the world of absinthe! Enjoy!

      ~Jessie


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