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Absinthe is an intimidating spirit. This is because good absinthe is not cheap, there is wide variation in quality and flavor, and making the perfect concoction, so it’s not too bitter or sweet, is a challenge. Fear not, I have found a simple solution!
Two facts first
90% of the absinthe on the market are not traditional. To find the 10% that are, you need two key facts. Fact #1, “real” absinthe is made with brandy, meaning it is entirely grape based. Most of the current offerings are made from grain spirits. This accounts for harsh taste and unappealing color (imagine if your bottle of wine was made of wheat!). Fact #2, traditional absinthe should not contain Star Anise. Star anise has become a key ingredient in most current absinthe. It is used to kick up flavor and color, turning absinthe from a classy, powerful sipper into a creepy monster.
A simple solution
Start with great, traditional absinthe. Emperor Norton Absinthe is 100% brandy based (no grain spirits) and contains no star anise. It’s the same stuff that Poe and Van Gough would be comfortable with. It is crafted in San Francisco, where Emperor Norton was a famous figure in the 19th century. He led a fascinating life. For anybody interested in California history, he is definitely worth checking out. Emperor Norton is a 136 proof absinthe. Sound scary? Not at all! Made correctly, it will be as smooth as any cocktail you’ve ever tried. Making the perfect absinthe couldn’t be easier: 50% Emperor Norton, 50% cold water. It’s that simple. No spoons, sugar or trouble. It really is perfection.
Emperor Norton Absinthe is an incredibly great absinthe with easy serving requirements. It is here at Vendome Studio City at around $75.00. For anybody who had a bad experience with absinthe in the past or is just curious, I can fully recommend the investment in a bottle.
About Steve Besser
Steve Besser has over 35 collective years in grocery and liquor, diving head first into the alcohol biz near the turn of the century. He learned about wines and spirits the old fashioned way, through sampling and asking questions. Never pretends to be an expert, but he knows quite a bit about the things he knows about.