Absinthe recipe

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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Prole » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:30 pm

Obviously you would not collect a full 500 ml in tails by running the pot till dry. Once you're run is complete and you made your final cut, probably when it is getting to the point that your drip is starting to louche or you can taste a change from sweet anise to tailsey, you turn off the heat. What is left in the pot is your tails and cooked herbs. Once it's cooled, throw it in a colander and squeeze out the liquid for re-use. I compost the cooked herbs. You will keep the tails recovered by this method to toss back in the pot with your next macerate and water (unless you're using the tex-wreck method but that's another story).
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby draco » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:45 pm

dsjunk wrote:I'm confused about the collection of tails discussed here. If you start with 1 liter of 85% and add 400-500 ml water, then collect 1 liter of absinthe, wouldn't collecting 500 ml in tails run your still dry? (consequently scorching herbs)


That has been my experience. For the matter of fact I get much less because the herbs soak up so much. Right now I am working 3 liters of 85% at a time. I put the herbs in 24 hours before running and heat to 140 degrees. Next everything goes in the still and I add one liter of tails from a previous batch. I end up with about 150ml of forshots, 2 liters of hearts, and 850ml of tails. You could squeeze some more out of the spices but I am happy to give some to the Fae.

I am currently working on some recipe development. I have been using Nigel's recipe but I want to try some of the old recipes from the pre ban distilling guide.
20 Liter boiler
1 1/2 in Bok 36in tall with Graham condenser
Pot still head.
I make Absinthe using Wineos "Plain Ol Sugar Wash" and Nigel's "best absinthe so far" recipe.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Prole » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:50 am

Try making this change to Nigel's: forget the cardamom in the coloration. Instead, start in advance by soaking a tbsp of angelica root in a small amount (3 oz or so) of your 85% base for about a week in advance. Add the rest of your coloring herbs -- melissa, hyssop and pontica along with your distillate as you have done previously. I think you'll like the results -- assuming of course that you have nice angelica root. It should be sweet smelling.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby draco » Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:48 pm

Thanks I will try that and start soaking some angelica now for next weekend.
20 Liter boiler
1 1/2 in Bok 36in tall with Graham condenser
Pot still head.
I make Absinthe using Wineos "Plain Ol Sugar Wash" and Nigel's "best absinthe so far" recipe.
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nontraditional coloring process.

Postby bum.jug » Sat May 09, 2009 12:58 pm

Okay, so I've been reading this and the other absinthe thread, and am now two batches deep. I have been using a tweaked version of nigels recipe with more green anise, less star, and spearmint. I macerate the herbs and 5.5l 180 for at least 24 hrs at 90-100 degrees farenheit, strain, and distill. I strain because I have no double boiler and distill, with tails and water.
Image
I collect the first 500 ml and then put into my soxhlet extractor with my coloring herbs.
Image
I run the condenser of this in series with the condenser of my still. This piece of lab equipment is awesome. It essentially washes and re washes the herb with any solvent you want. This can create a very dark green color - the only problem is possibly going too dark and giving too much color when you add back into the rest of your batch. My first one came out the perfect bright green, my second was a little too dark.
I run to the end, collect my tails and bottle.
Image

what do y'all think?
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Prole » Sun May 10, 2009 3:45 am

An interesting method. It could make the coloration herbs overpowering and out of balance but you might find a good cut of point for the process that gives you the consistent intensity you want. I take my distillate from the first half of the run and put it in a mason jar with the coloration herbs, warm it for about 40 minutes, strain and filter.
Nice label!
I find that peppermint works better that spearmint.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby vajravarahi » Sun May 10, 2009 1:28 pm

When starting a batch, and you don't have no tails, don't be so aggressive on collecting the heart. Then you can add a couple hundret ml for the tails. Next run you got a liter plus half again of water and some tails. Don't be aggressive again, and now you can git some more tails. Then the next run or one after you can git more tails and worry less about cooking it all dry.

If you want to cheat, get a bottle of arak and add haf a liter for your first "tails". It'll skew the cuts a little but don't need be worrying about overcooking nothing. Can use GNS but need to add some water cause tails aren't so strong as that.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Prole » Mon May 11, 2009 4:16 am

If it's your first run, sans tails, you'll get a weak flavored distillate. The best thing to do is to remove the herbs and put the collected tails back in the pot along with the distillate and run it again with added water. That should result in a better run and you'll have tails to save for next time.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby homebrewnorcal » Wed May 13, 2009 12:46 am

K so I've been researching absinthe for a while....currently have all of the herbs growing down in the south bay with my hop yard...But yeah I plan on boiling the herbs in my must for mead (anise, Florance fennel, aniseed, coriander, hyssop)Thinking about adding amber rock candy for a hint of caramel flavor
....then in secondary add suiss mint....Then run that through the still...then macerate the same herbs but with wormwood, lemmon balm, citron zest and sweet orange peel....then color with hyssop, roman wormwood, coriander seeds, stevia, melissa citronella, lemon balm, seeds of paradise...not totally traditional and it has a few beer elements to it...but yeah just need to put a still together...then age in oak chips for a month or so...

shitty brands tried sebor, trul 1492

best that ive tried duplias verte/blanche, jade series, la C, kubler 53, 330, mansinthe (ehh just ok)...

few fun facts

1.star anise is in inferior ingredient...
2.old absinthe made people trip because of a copper compound from using shitty equipment...you would trip too if your brain was eroding
3.czech recipes are shit
4,you don't trip but things get a little bit brighter
5. [Mod Edit: Please read rule 6 about discussing illegal intoxicants.]

I have 300# of grain behind my couch and my next order of 100# is about to be ordered...i need to brew lol
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby zymos » Wed May 13, 2009 4:35 am

homebrewnorcal wrote:
few fun facts

1.star anise is in inferior ingredient...
2.old absinthe made people trip because of a copper compound from using shitty equipment...you would trip too if your brain was eroding
3.czech recipes are shit
4,you don't trip but things get a little bit brighter
5. [Mod Edit: Please read rule 6 about discussing illegal intoxicants.]



I think you mean "facts", not actual things that are true.

....for example, people may have been poisoned because cheapo absinthe had copper compounds added to color it green
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby homebrewnorcal » Wed May 13, 2009 8:47 am

....dont do drugs kids
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Zman » Fri May 15, 2009 4:21 pm

No person has ever "tripped" on absinthe. Not from a copper compound from inferior equipment. There are reports that inferior brands of the last century were cheaply made with antimony trichloride and other nasty toxic stuff. This may be a source of toxicity, but not making someone hallucinate. This was never so with the established premium brands (Pernod Fils, Eduoard Pernod, Oxygenne, etc.).
As for star anise, it is a cheap way to get the anethole flavor into your absinthe, but I agree that its use should be kept at a minimum in quality made absinthes.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Bob_ENG » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:31 pm

Hello all, thanks for a valuable reasource! Ive been looking online at loads of herb merchants but the quality of their stuff looks questionable from the tiny, tiny pictures. does anyone know a decent source in europe??? Or maybe an american one with reasonable shipping?

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:05 pm

Hi, Bob, I don't know about ENG, but when I was in Paris I found Angelica archangelica fruits and Artemisia pontica herb at an herboriste called Herboristerie de la Place Clichy‎, on Rue de Amsterdam just south of la Place Clichy.
Those are the two herbs that are hard to find... outside of the EU

Speaking of which everyone, you're doing yourself no favours using angelica root as a substitute for angelica fruits. The difference in the fruits and roots is like that of spaghetti and curry. Or something.

Anyway, angelica fruits have a carrot flavor, and a slight bitterness, that gives way to a spicey-tingling sensation and then paresthesia. The best substitute for it would, I think, be to mix carrot fruit and szechuan pepper (for that spicey paresthesia). If carrots aren't available think about celery (but the flavor is closer to carrots than celery!).

Also, IME, absinthe and oak do not mix!
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby kiwistiller » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:14 pm

sbeghan, do you have an NZ source for pontica and archangelica? Gary.Angie and I have been scouring around for them (pontica mostly) but are not doing very well...
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:57 pm

Kiwi, no clue. Can you even import the dried herbs? I'm pretty sure AUS would throw a fit if you tried to import the angelica fruits, but I don't know if NZ is as paranoid.

Sorry I can't be of any more help. Try enlisting someone who speaks french to help find an online herboriste perhaps? With the AA at least, you should be able to make a substitute, but I can't think of a good substitute for the petite wormwood.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby kiwistiller » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:14 am

ah ok. I got my hopes up when I saw you were in NZ :D

we can import living plants, but it requires a fair bit of paperwork so thats a last resort. I think dried herbs would be fine, but I don't know the sellers...
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:03 am

Oh, the NZ is just a bit of misdirection on my part. And I'd like to visit sometime...

If you can import dried herbs then there are some places in the US (2 I think) which carry A. pontica and A. angelica for making absinthe - they're discussed previously in the thread but I forgot the names. I won't send you any live plants, etc, since as amusing as it would be I don't want to find out that A. pontica turns out to be wildly invasive in NZ or something ridiculous.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby kiwistiller » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:16 pm

nah we checked it out with the govt, its on the 'ok to import but jump through some hoops anyway' list :lol: thanks for the info anywy.

You had all of nz to 'live' in, and you chose Invercargil :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:04 pm

What can I say, tuition is cheap at SIT!

I've had soaking on vodka a tincture of szechuan pepper (mason jar full of the peppers, and topped off with vodka).
I distilled a small quantity of tincture of szechuan pepper (maybe I should refer to them with a better botanical name? - prickly ash schizocarps). Amusingly it strongly louches. Ok, the paresthesia is very similar to that of angelica fruit but the scents are different. The ash is a fruitier flavor, with hints of perfume and something heavy, like wood. The angelica is very carroty. I think that the ash may very well be a better complement to anise and wormwood.

Now onto the distillate - I have not distilled angelica by itself so I won't compare them. The ash distillate removes the sourness, and some of the bitterness leaving a pleasant aromatic flavour and light sensation of paresthesia - it is not like that spreading tingling I get when I chew on a schizocarp. There is a ... dare I say... carroty fruity aftertaste. I tasted some of the schizocarps after I finished the distillation - it caused a mild paresthesia (but stronger than the distillate) and had a sour taste. The scent was unpleasant.

In conclusion, distillation improved the flavour but at the cost of some of the paresthesia compared to the dry schizocarp or a tincture. If you add angelica to the finish for the paresthesia then add the ash to the finish as well. Otherwise, if you're like me and add the angelica to the maceration then add the ash to the maceration.

I just made 3 liters of absinthe as Christmas presents today. It may be a while before I may another batch, but in my next batch I promise to use prickly ash and report back on the differences. I think it will be a fine substitution by itself.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Dnderhead » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:32 am

this mite help some?--ran across it snooping-----
----http://www.webtender.com/handbook/guide/sec-05.ghtml
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby LWTCS » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:28 am

Nice Dunder,

Great info and the little snigglets (bear traps and such)are entertaining.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Caprimulgus » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:48 am

I enjoyed this read. Kinda mind opening that, what is common herb garden plants in one country is VERY hard to get in the next country. I was thinking about the ten times larger amounts in the old recipes. Could they have been fresh herbs?

I might have missed it. And if so, just point me in the right direction. But is anyone using fresh herbs here? And is there a fresh herb recipe floating about somehwere?
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:41 pm

Capri, most of the times the herbs would not be fresh.
You'd harvest at one point in the fields, perhaps a country or two away, then dry and ship the product to a distillery which would batch process the herbs throughout the year as it used them out.

Freshly dried herbs are recommended, but in my experience using fresh herbs you will get grassy and off flavours if you don't let the herbs dry first - I suspect that certain chemicals inside the cells will be degraded while others are produced in the drying process. If you insist on using fresh herbs the appropriate adjustments will differ for each herb - for instance wormwood loses 2/3rds to 3/4rds of its weight, while mint can lose 9/10ths or more.

Just use freshly dried herbs. I find that the wormwood that I buy from the store is nearly flavourless and my freshly dried wormwood is several times more potent btw.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Caprimulgus » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:38 pm

I was just speculating why some historical recipes used ten times more. Cause the dried herbs weigh about a tenth of the fresh plant. Surely the "could" have grown wormwood in France back then.

I use my home grown wormwood when flavoring the traditional wormwood snapps Beska Droppar and the taste is way potent.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Sbeghan » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:44 am

Use ten times more than what comparatively?
When I look at my historical recipes I see no more than 3x variation in wormwood and anise/fennel, with most recipes clustering around the mean. You want something mentholic like roman wormwood to balance out that low grande wormwood note.
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby kayabunga » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:04 pm

I am currently in the preparing stages of my first attempt at Absinthe and I have a few questions regarding the recipe. I have read through this post twice and am hoping to get some responses regarding the alchemy of this little concoction.

After reviewing numerous recipes, websites and blogs, the 1855 Pontarlier seems to be very popular, especially here on this site. I have been leaning toward using the one from "Dick's Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts & Processes or How They Did It in the 1870's" - 797, by Dick Brisbane, first published 1870. The main difference(s) are that with "Dick's" recipe, Artemisia pontica/Roman is used BOTH before and after the distilling process and the hyssop is used in the macerate, not in the coloring. A small amount of coriander is also included in the macerate.

Please allow me to define that in my post, I am calling the maceration the first combination of herbs (including the Artemisia absinthium), liquor and eventually water prior to distillation.

From what I have read about the alchemy of these herbs, there is a definite science or method to the madness of this mixture. For instance, in addition to the thujone which can be a neurotoxin in high doses, hyssop can cause seizures (again, probably in high doses but still). With that said, there are countering herbs used such as the Melissa/Lemon balm and Angelica. These herbs are actually known to known to be an antispasmodic/muscle relaxer, helping with the treatment of "nervous disorders/ disturbances of sleep/agitation and purifies the blood as well.

As far as the Artemisia pontica, some person named Culpepper considered the Roman Wormwood 'excellent to strengthen the stomach.' Also that 'the juice of the fresh tops is good against obstructions of the liver and spleen. . . . An infusion of the flowering tops strengthens digestion. Has anyone used the Artemisia pontica/Roman in both the maceration and the coloring processes?

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. :D) 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 purchased Absolut 100 for the original maceration by the way. I have to ‘buy’ something (a friend of mine has the still).

It seems as if all steps and components of this mixture are all very important and if any are missed/messed up (i.e. the heads and tails) I am thinking that I will have pretty much messed up my mix? I am really viewing this whole adventure as an expression in artistic alchemy and would love to hear from the 'experts' who frequent this site?

Thank you!!!
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby frozenthunderbolt » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:56 pm

kayabunga wrote: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.

Thank you!!!


While I dont yet have personal experience with this, i have seen reference to calamus having mild hilucagenic propetrties and that if nothing else it tends to generate a much worse hangover than absinthe that does not contain it. Just to point out this is hearsay, not first hand experience. :egeek:
Where has all the rum gone? . . .

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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby kayabunga » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:57 am

Hmm, thanks for the "headsup" Frozenthunderbolt.

I did order Calamus with the order that I placed for the other herbs. I thought that I would try it in tea first? I'll let you know if there are any effects, good or not so good from the tea.

Um, is Cascade herbs always slow to respond to an order request? I'm really trying to get all of the right/good herbs for this little mixture and I do have wormwood in my garden . . . I just don't know the exact species and have read that there are over 125 different ones so . . . thought I had better not chance it and order from Cascade.

This mixture better be a good one; with the $$$ I have spent in supplies so far, I could have imported a decent bottle but . . . I have to admit that it's been enjoyable to take on this little science project. :D The patience of waiting for this to all come together will be a bit of a test. I'm hoping that the wait will be worth it?
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Re: Absinthe recipe

Postby Zman » Mon Jul 04, 2011 3:14 pm

Cascade Herbs is no longer selling to the general public. I would suggest contacting Kirk at
www.absintheherbs.com
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