kayabunga wrote:One person on this site had stated that they use hyssop in both the maceration and the coloring process . . . "Dick's" recipe calls for it in the maceration whereas Pontarlier calls for it in the coloring . . . anyone like to give their two cents on this? Aside from the seizure causing posibilites (again, I am SURE this is in high dosages only), it is also known in ancient scriptures as the ‘holy herb’. “"Purge me with hyssop," the Bible records, "and I will be clean." Hyssop has been used for millennia as a holy herb, consecrated for cleaning holy places. It has also been considered an aphrodisiac when combined with ginger, thyme and pepper. (thought you’d all like that little tidbit of info. ) So, hyssop in BOTH maceration and coloring or what?
I have seen other recipes that call for Calamus/sweet rush in the maceration . . . Walt Whitman wrote 39 poems about this herb in "Leave of Grass" and the ancient Chinese and Indian philosophies tout this herb as being a "rejuvenator of the brain and nervous systems" . . . anyone use this in their mix? Just wondering.
I know most of you have posted that you only macerate for 12-24 hours (at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit) prior to distillation. "Dick's" recipe recommends 2-3 days (but that could be due to the VAT of macerate in which they are making). I did read a post on this thread that said to macerate 7-10 days without heat . . . other places on the internet said anywhere from 2 weeks to just shy of 2 months! Thanks to you, I know that I just have to kind of 'wait and see' . . . take a small amount, slowly add pure, chilled water and look for louching, right? One idea I had was to steep the fennel, anise, and any other herbs that I decide to add to the original maceration for a couple of weeks and THEN add the Artemisia absinthium a day or so right before distillation . . . what do you think?
I've always used Dale Pendell's Swiss style http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/absinthe/absinthe_recipe1.shtml which calls for both hyssop and calamus. I use a handle of cheap vodka (filtered with charcoal) instead of pure alcohol. I've cut the maceration time in half and it was still good but inferior.
There's still much speculation about the effects of absinthe or if there are any. I think there's a mild effect but homemade absinthe has a greater thujone level than American store bought. There certainly are other potentially active herbs in the mix and calamus is one of the most interesting as it contains beta-asarone. While not itself illegal, beta-asarone is a mild stimulant/hallucinogen and a precursor used by various chemical entrepreneurs to make less reputable products. Thus the FDA heartily encourages most stores not stock/sell the asarone-free varieties. Does calamus add to the absinthe magic? What happens to beta-asarone when you distill it? No idea, but it adds some lovely depth to the flavor. There are numerous other plants in absinthe that are suspected of having some psychedelic effect (hyssop included I think) but none are more dangerous than ethanol.