Homemade Absinthe

I can't vouch for the quality or the safety of this recipe, since I haven't tried it (and probably never will), but English Russia has a how-post on making your own absinthe. There are a lot of herbs involved.
Wormwood: 100 g
Fennel (fruit): 50 g
Anise: 50 g
Mint: 15 g
Melissa: 8 g
Chamomile: 3 g
Cumin: 10 g
Angelica: 10 g
It would be nice to add 5-10 g of hyssop, but it is difficult to find.

And then later another round of herbs.
Melissa: 8 g
Licorice: 10 g
Mint: 15 g
Chamomile: 2 g
Angelica: 2 g

One of the steps is to put the concoction away for two weeks, presumably to give you time to ponder the wisdom of the whole enterprise. Link -via Dangerous Minds

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another thing people need to realise is that distilling with grain alcohol can be pretty dangerous (aside from the legalities). if you're using something like a bunsen burner, you're asking for a pretty spectacular explosion or fire. my ex, when she was much younger (about 18, IIRC), almost burned her apartment building down when the grain alcohol vapors ignited. luckily nobody was in the room when it happened, but she said a couple of the walls were completely blackened. grain alcohol vapors are extremely volatile (a fact that i discovered on my own when i was younger and thought i could substitute Everclear for charcoal fluid to start a barbecue. i lost my eyebrows...and it didn't even work as a charcoal starter!) and NEVER EVER ingest or drink wormwood essential oil...it is EXTREMELY toxic and can put you in the ER with kidney or liver failure!!!

another thing about absinthe: the effects of wormwood have been GREATLY exaggerated over the years. you DON'T hallucinate, and i don't think it makes artistic endeavours any more fruitful. in fact, old absinthe recipes had very little wormwood, much less than people think. medically speaking, the effects of such small quantities of thujone are pretty negligible. plenty of the "original" recipes from the old distillers still exist, and wormwood wasn't the star of the show. the myth that absinthe caused hallucinations actually came from the governments that decided to ban the drink, because they thought that its drinkers tended to be "worse" drunks than those who drank wine and other spirits (again, at the time, absinthe probably had a higher alcohol content than most other drinks, but they failed to take that into account. also, they never bothered to see if the rumors about absinthe were true: they just took them as fact). the truth of the matter is that a great many famous artists who partook of the Green Fairy were just raging alcoholics, who just happened to prefer a drink that had a wickedly high alcohol content. combine that with a lack of scientific and medical knowledge at the time, add some some government propaganda and you've got a banned drink.

having said all that, "real" absinthe is slowly becoming available (legally) in the US again. the gov keeps the allowable levels of thujone low, but even the original i've had some of the "clandestine" imports over the years, but the current legal stuff is pretty decent overall. i do like Suisse Verte quite a bit, but for readily-available stuff, i think Lucid is surprisingly pretty good (and FAR better than any of that mouthwash-colored stuff from the Czech Republic! that stuff is HORRIBLE, and isn't even true absinthe). Lucid happens to have a comparable amount of wormwood as the old Pernod (the absinthe, not the pastis) had, for those that care. i personally don't care about thujone/wormwood levels and rarely pay attention to them.

so while i think the link does give a fairly accurate way to make your own absinthe (although i can't speak for its particular taste), i think it's far safer and easier to just spend the $60 on a bottle of Lucid here in the US. it's actually pretty good and is still a fairly cheap way to figure out whether you like absinthe or not (here's a hint: if you can't stand black licorice, you'll probably hate absinthe, although at least it doesn't have that "thick cough syrup" flavor that Jagermeister has). if you decide that you like it, you can try importing the REALLY good stuff from Europe, but be aware that it could potentially get confiscated at port and you could lose $100+ with nothing to show for it.

some things to look for in "good" absinthe: it's rarely "neon green". if the color looks like food coloring, it probably is (this is especially prevalent in Czech "absinthes", which are often BLUE!!!) if it looks like mouthwash, avoid it. true absinthe varies in color from a pearly white to a chlorophyl-green color, depending on the recipe. floating herbs are unnecessary and generally don't taste good, either. also, true absinthe preparation NEVER includes a burning spoon of sugar! that's also a weird Czech thing that only makes their so-called absinthe taste even worse that it already does. the proper method of preparing an absinthe drink is to put a certain amount of absinthe in a glass (absinthe glasses usually have a line marked for this), then dripping or slowly pouring ice-water over a sugarcube held in a slotted spoon above the drink. it's usually 3-5 parts ice water to 1 part absinthe: i usually prefer 3 parts water to 1 part absinthe, unless it's really strong, otherwise it's just too watered down for my taste. it's a little more ritualistic than it needs to be, and often i'll just pour ice water over the sugarcube just slow enough to allow the sugarcube to melt into the liquid. i've also done the same thing with just plain white sugar in a regular teaspoon, held at a slight angle to allow the sugar-water to drain into the glass of absinthe. it's fun to have absinthe spoons and glasses, but certainly not necessarily.

one more thing: i don't know how much absinthe used to cost during the Belle Epoch, but it's certainly not cheap anymore! unless you're wealthy, don't plan on drinking it more than occasionally. and don't plan on drinking more than two or three glasses at a time, unless you want a really wicked hangover the next day!
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Since you would be doing some distilling you should probably keep it on the down low if you don't want the Revenuers to get after you. While home brewing is legal in the US, home distilling unfortunately isn't.
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Will is correct about the distillation and the wormwood soaking in thr alcohol leaving it too bitter.

I've tried several absinthes over the last few years and the most recent one came with wormwood floating in the bottle. It was too bitter to drink even with sugar and water. It was really only good for a quick shot which defeated the purpose of absinthe drinking being a relaxing event that is to be savored.

My favorite is Absinthe Suisse Verte Clandestine. Wonderful flavor and herbal components but not too overpowering and strong. Plus, the Swiss never really stopped making absinthe. ; ) You csn easily order it and have it shipped here, just be mindful shipping is expensive.

I've had Ted Breuax absinthe and there was something about it I just didn't like. Absinthe preference is very personal though. I tend not to like the anise free versions as they seem to be missing a component that is neccsisary.
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Didn't read the link but, iirc:
Absinthe only works if you have distillation equipment.

You soak the first round, then distill that, and then I think add a 2nd sachet.

Part of what would ordinarily be discarded is saved and then added to your next batch.

If you don't distill it that 2nd time, the wormwood is too insanely bitter to actually drink. (which is pretty much what the greek translates into; "this is the crazy bitter stuff")

Erowid has some good stuff on it.

But, unless you Really like it to the point you'd make it yourself more than 1x,

it's really just cheaper in the end to buy some Nouvelle Orléans from Ted Breaux at Jade Liquors and have it shipped here.

If the real stuff is too bitter, try it 1:6 with Collins Mix, the lemon cuts it abit.

But honestly, it's a Really specialized taste; on a more normal non-Halloween-Vampire-Party-Only basis, Pastis is much more doable for an interesting liqueur.
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