Every day a different drink. Not just how to make them, but a detailed review of how they actually taste, photos of the drinks, and stories along the way. Starting from the beginning, The Bartender's Black Book will be our guide, taking us
(and our livers) on a journey from which we may never recover. Cheers!
January 6, 2011
#6: Absconded French Girlfriend
1 oz Black Raspberry Liquer
Pour ingredients into a tall glass with ice, then fill with sparkling water.
Absinthe is something I have been wanting to try for quite some time. Not as long as it has been illegal in the US, but since it became legal again. Absinthe is not a liquer, since it is not bottled with added sugar, so it is technically a spirit. It is derived from herbs, the most famous being Artemisia absinthium, or wormwood. Usually it is a natural green color, and is usually bottled at a very high proof and diluted with water when made in a drink.
Absinthe was popular in early 20th century France, mainly among Parisian artists. Partly because of this association, prohibitionists opposed its use, claiming that it was a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug due to the small quantities of the chemical thujone. By 1915 it was banned in the US and most of Europe. Sadly, there has been no evidence that it is any more dangerous than any other distilled spirit.
By the 1990s, many European countries began to allow its manufacture and sale, and by 2007 it was allowed to be both imported to and distilled in the US.
So, with all this history in mind, I made this simple drink. I had luckily been able to find a tiny 100 mL bottle of Absinthe at BevMo for $10.99. Otherwise I was looking at ponying up over $35 for a bottle that I would probably only have a sip or two from. They keep both the big and little bottles locked up.
As soon as I opened the little bottle, the almost overwhelming smell of licorice and anise wafted out. A tiny bit ran down the side of the bottle after I had poured into the jigger, so I swiped it with my finger and tasted it. That drop was probably 10 cents worth! The strong licorice flavor bit into my tongue, and then spread out nicely. Not bad, but not what I was expecting. I'm not sure I knew what I was expecting, honestly.
The drink retained most of that strong licorice flavor. Not a black licorice, just licorice. I could not taste the equal amount of Black Raspberry Liquer at all. I also couldn't taste much of anything except sparkling licorice-flavored water. Huh. Licorice is not my favorite thing in the world, but if it was, I could see liking this drink. It could be quite refreshing on a humid evening in New Orleans, or you could save the money and have a lemonade instead.
It comes across assort of pretentious. Now the name of the drink makes sense. Don't only pretentious bohemia have French girlfriends, or least use the word absconded? I'm not a French Bohemian, but after a few of these I might talk like one.
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