• Slide 2
  • Slide 4

The Hottest Absinthe Around


Restaurant 1833

Human beings are fascinated by ritual. Religious services, rites of passage, and – if the current revival is any indication – cocktails.

Maybe it touches on some sort of fascination with the mystical, but absinthe, with its dark mythology, milky transformation and intoxicating power, has all the trappings of a paranormal ceremony.

Human beings are also fascinated by fire. Given this, one can imagine the allure of the absinthe service at Monterey’s Restaurant 1833. As the name suggests, the space was built in 1833, and has lived several lives since its inception. It’s been a home, an apothecary, and the location of California’s first kiln. The space is also said to be haunted. Historical and slightly otherwordly? Of course it’s hot.

See the full post »

Mutineer Friday Cocktail: The Razercrac


Swift's Attic - The Razercrac Cocktail

It’s Friday, and this Mutineer is looking forward to knocking off for the weekend and plans to kick off the weekend by mixing up a cocktail. If you are looking for something new to try, Swift’s Attic in Austin, TX makes a cocktail called The Razercrac, which is based upon that old New Orleans favorite the Sazerac.

“This was originally going to be a take on an old-school Sazerac, but I wanted to use the Chopin rye vodka because it makes for really smooth, easily drinkable drinks. This is a great alternative for people who don’t like the rye-whiskey taste of a Sazerac, and it’s a great pairing for the Martini & Rossi vermouth, since it’s on the sweeter side, to balance the bitter notes. Like the original, we still used an absinthe-dusted glass and a bit of Peychaud’s bitters. Zest the orange into the drink and stir with the zest to bring out all of the flavors.”
 – Jeff Hammett, Bar Manager of Jeff Swift’s Attic

The Razercrac
1 1/2 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
1 oz. M&R Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Absinthe dusted glass

Stirred and strained over ice with orange zest

Have a mutinous weekend!

Comments Off on Mutineer Friday Cocktail: The Razercrac 10.05.2012 |

Tony Stark Enjoys a Fine Beverage a Delicious Fine Beverage While Chatting With Super Villains

Other Beverage

This clip pretty much captures what happened the first time I met with Steve Heimoff. Mr. Stark apparently likes his dark spirits neat and served out of a decanter. And wait, is that absinthe on his back bar? If it is, I like his style, but I must caution against putting absinthe in a clear decanter as it is sensitive to the sun, which is a problem in an all-windows ultra high-rise condo. Also of note on the back bar is the decanter of wine that seems to just be hanging out. Maybe if you’re Tony Stark you have your butler decant a new bottle of red wine every morning “just in case”.

Comments Off on Tony Stark Enjoys a Fine Beverage a Delicious Fine Beverage While Chatting With Super Villains 04.12.2012 |

So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur Part 3: Tasting Events


Brian Huff - No tasting

Photo Credits: Brian Huff Photography

If you’ve been reading our absinthe connoisseur series of posts, and doing your homework (a.k.a. drinking!), you’ve probably developed a nice base of education, giving you some fluency in absinthe conversation.  You’re also probably yearning to share your newfound knowledge with others.  I know of no other drink that creates so many proselytiser as absinthe does.  If you’ve come to the decision that you’d like to introduce a group of people to absinthe, why not host a tasting event?

Absinthe tasting events can be both a bonding experience amongst friends and like-minded individuals as well as a very educational opportunity.  However, different situations call for different types of tasting events.  A gathering of friends on a Saturday night over pizza probably wouldn’t work well with a double blind formal tasting.  Nor would a gathering of absintheurs intent upon formal scoring for publication purposes call for an informal type of tasting.  So today’s article will go through both types of events, giving you the ability to conduct either type.  We’ll start by describing how to do an informal tasting, and then list the modifications you’ll need to make in order to produce a formal one.


Both types of tastings will need the following:

  • A well-lit venue which will allow each person to have a comfortable seat, writing space, and view of the absinthe ritual.  For most tastings, something as simple as a dining room will work perfectly.
  • A Wormwood Society Scoresheet and Tasting Instructions (or your own WS Tasting Journal) and pen/pencil for each taster – make sure to have enough scoring sheets for each absinthe.
  • Several bottles of absinthe – we recommend no more than three or four per tasting as absinthe tends to anethetise the palate after more than that.
  • Simple Syrup (sugar and water mixed at 1.5 cups of sugar to 1 cup water) – ideally, have a dropper bottle full of simple syrup at each seat.
  • Tasting glasses – enough for each taster to have a clean glass for each absinthe (i.e. 5 tasters and 4 absinthes = 20 glasses).  It’s helpful if these are marked at .5 ounce, 2 ounce and 3 ounce levels if the tasters will be preparing their own.
  • Plenty of pure spring water and ice.
  • Either an absinthe fountain or small individual water carafes or pitchers (water bottles with the pull out spout will also do in a pinch).
  • Table water crackers for palate cleansing – Palate cleansing beverages such as Santasti are another plus.

Absinthe Tasting

Preparation: Self prepared, or pre-prepared?

The first thing you’ll want to figure out is whether you’ll want everyone to prepare their own glasses, or whether you’d like to hand out samples that have been already prepared.  There are pros and cons to each.  By having each person prepare their own glass, it becomes a much more tactile experience, but it also could lead to improper preparation.  You’ll also need more accessories, or a fountain with more spigots to be able to accommodate the needs of each taster.

Brian Huff - NO tasting 1On the other hand, if you prepare the samples for them, you can prepare one large glass of absinthe, then decant it into each taster’s glass.  This ensures that each taster starts with an absinthe that has been prepared to the exact same ratio of water to absinthe.  You can prepare the one large glass in front of the tasters in order to let them observe the louche process.   For this approach, you’ll want to prepare 0.5 oz. of absinthe for each taster.  So, if you have 4 tasters, then you’ll be preparing 2 oz. of absinthe in the glass.

Since absinthes vary so widely in alcoholic proof and herbal robustness, each will have its own particular ratio that showcases its character best. It’s recommended to first prepare the absinthe at a dilution of 3:1 (3 parts water to 1 part absinthe).  If the panelist customarily uses sugar, it may be added after this first taste.  Just a few drops of simple syrup should suffice.

Careful observation of the remaining criteria should follow, tasting the absinthe at gradually increasing dilutions. Some absinthes will reveal their “sweet-spot” at as low as 3:1, while others may stand up to as much as 6:1. More sugar may be added as desired.

Have each taster review the tasting instructions as they progress through the different review qualities such as aroma, taste, and finish, assigning a number to each quality.  Each reviewer should jot down their own personal notes about each category as well.  Encourage them to explain what they are experiencing, and discourage them from trying to pick out individual herbs.  Most people won’t know what melissa, coriander, or wormwood really taste like, but they could describe lemon zest, white pepper, mint, chocolate, etc.

See the full post »

So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur…Part 2



Photo by Brian Huff Photography

We hope you enjoyed our first entry in our Absinthe Connoisseur series of articles.  Now that you know a bit more about the different types of absinthe available in the marketplace today, we wanted to explain a bit more about how to taste and/or review an absinthe. 

When a person is drawn to absinthe, we believe they’re usually seeking the full and complete Belle Époque experience—the experience of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Toulouse-Lautrec: the full and true experience of the most mysterious and romantic drink in history. What did the patrons at the Moulin Rouge and the Cabaret du Chat Noir taste, smell, and feel when they drank absinthe? This is the standard against which we judge modern absinthes. See the full post »

So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur…Part 1


Tasting Absinthe

It’s not cool enough to just drink absinthe anymore.  Since absinthe has been around in the U.S. legally since 2007 (and since the Wormwood Society has been around since 2004), ignorance is no excuse as to why you aren’t yet an absinthe connoisseur, or absintheur.  For those of you who are behind  on the times, the next series of blog articles are going to help bring you up to speed.  From types of absinthe based on production process, to the specific herbs used to make it, to how to evaluate an absinthe, and finally ending with how to throw your own tasting party.  We’ll go through it all.  And each week, we’ll also leave you with a popular absinthe cocktail that is simple to make, and will boost your cool points with your friends.

So, before we can get into tasting and evaluating absinthe, you need to know more about the different types.  That’s what we’ll be discussing today.  Of the products that call themselves absinthe (or absynt, absinth, abisinthe, etc), there are three major types, which differ based on production process.  Here are some basics for each:

Traditional, distilled absinthe.Making Absinthe

The botanicals are macerated (soaked) in high-proof alcohol for a brief time, usually around 24 to 36 hours.  This macerate, still containing the herbs, is then distilled. The resulting distillate is clear, and further herbs are usually used in a second maceration (think of a huge teabag full of aromatic herbs), which will add flavor, aroma and color. This is a traditional finishing step, but not all absinthes receive this second maceration, and remain clear. These uncolored absinthes are typically referred to as “blanche”style, while the herb-infused green variety are referred to as “verte”.  These terms are simply the French words for white and green, respectively.  You might also run across the term “La Bleu”, which indicates a blanche style absinthe that was traditionally made in Switzerland.

Compounded, or “Oil Mix” absinthe.

Essential oils are usually extracted from plant matter by steam distillation.  These are the same type of oils used in aromatherapy products, incense and fragrances. Other flavors are produced synthetically. These flavorings are then purchased by the producer in bulk and then simply blended with neutral spirits. This mixture isn’t distilled further, and the result will be clear. If the absinthe is to be green (or any other color), it will almost always be colored artificially.This is the common way to make absinthe cheaply—virtually all mass-market absinthes are produced this way—and they will normally be noted for tasting less complex and more like “black jelly beans” owing to the use of star anise oil, the flavoring used in much black licorice candy. They will also lack nuance and often contain acrid or harsh characteristics because the steam distillation process isolates different compounds than does the more traditional alcohol distillation method.

While the oil mix method was used in the pre-ban era, these were never considered to be quality products, merely “economy brands.” Only consumer ignorance permits these products to be sold at premium prices today.  Take a look at the Absinthe Cost Comparison entry for more information.

Macerated “absinthe”.

Herbs are soaked in alcohol. That’s it. The resulting macerate is filtered and bottled. It’s an extremely cheap way to make “absinthe” and it shows. Technically, this isn’t an absinthe any more than beer is whisky: in other words, it’s the first step, but not the same thing at all. If using the proper herbs (many do not), the overwhelming flavor of wormwood will stand out dramatically, since it’s one of the most bitter herbs in the world.Even the smallest amount of raw wormwood can be easily picked out by an educated palate due to its high level of bitterness and lingering astringency in the back of the throat. It’s a very unpleasant flavor.

OK, so now that you know the types of absinthe (and by way of inference, which type you should probably be drinking), we’ll move on to some of the specific herbs and what they taste and smell like in our next column.  Until then, I leave you with one of my favorite all-time cocktails, the Sazerac.

Sazerac Cocktail

Fill and Old Fashioned glass with ice, then set aside to chill.

In a separate glass, add:

  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 healthy dashes of Peychaud’s bitters (these must be used for a classic Sazerac)
  • 2 oz. Sazerac Rye

Fill glass with ice and stir.

Discard ice from the original Old Fashioned Glass, and rinse that glass with absinthe. Strain other ingredients into the Old Fashioned Glass, then garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Watch fellow Wormwood Society member Robert ”Drinkboy” Hess prepare this cocktail on the Small Screen Network.

The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess: The Monkey Gland Cocktail


This week’s installment of The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess brought to you by the Small Screen Network brings you the Monkey Gland cocktail, which according to Robert Hess, “Back in the day, men used to attempt amazingly misguided, ill informed shenanigans with the goal of increasing their virility and longevity; like taking monkey testicles and implanting or grafting them in to their own bodies. Thus, the Monkey Gland cocktail was created by Frank Meier, of the Ritz Hotel Paris (April, 1923).”


  • 2 oz Beefeater 24 Gin
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1/4 oz grenadine
  • dash Absinthe

Comments Off on The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess: The Monkey Gland Cocktail 05.30.2011 |

Event – Absinthe Revealed 2: L’Heure Verte


A Celebration of Tastings and Truths

Absinthe by Damian Hevia

Modern science triumphed over historic propaganda vindicating fine pre-ban absinthe of its alleged evils, leading to the U.S. ban being lifted Dec. 2007. This Celebration seeks to dispel the myths surrounding this misunderstood spirit; expose the public to the smoothness and variety of tastes artisanal absinthes offer; and illustrate proper ways to drink them.

As with their successful debut event, a full house is expected at this 2nd-of-its-kind happening for Houston. Celebration will fill the air throughout AvantGarden, with live jazz and absinthe conversations. Light hors d’oeuvres and free absinthe tastings traditionale–including a new release, will broaden your taste adventure. In addition to sangrias, fruit infusions, wines and beers, there will be special cocktails for sale that offer a different twist on absinthe. To fill out the evening’s visual experience, a showing of Damian Hevia’s compelling absinthe images will be featured for sale, as well as reproduction reproduction absinthe posters.

In the midst of the evening’s glow, you can make your way to a courtyard vantage point for the presentations that will quench your curiosities. Terms like artemisia absinthium, Dr. Ordinaire, louche, dose, thujone, Legendré, Sazerac, and L’Heure Verte will be explained by Herbsaint historian and collector, Jay Hendrickson and renowned absinthe historian and Master Distiller of Lucid Absinthe, Ted Breaux with Viridian Spirits.

Springing from absinthe folklore, enchanting fairies will float through the crowd as the music and entertainment continues into the wee hours. We urge you to be a part of the sights in your elegant attire—be inspired by steampunk and the Belle Epoch. For an entertaining way to introduce yourself to absinthe, or expand on what you know—we hope you will join us for this lovely evening.

Saturday April 9, 2011. 7:30pm – Closing.
Presentations: 8:30pm – 10:30pm
AvantGarden 411 Westheimer Road Houston, Texas

For tickets, visit here.

Comments Off on Event – Absinthe Revealed 2: L’Heure Verte 04.07.2011 |

Page 1 of 512345

Copyright Wine Mutineer, LLC © 2021