Le Sigh…

Alas, my (apparently last) Pontarlier glass has fallen victim to the costuming blitz. I had to run to the sink to deal with something very goopy and the glass was beside it, on the tile counter. I bumped it with an elbow as I wrestled a can of industrial-strength acetone and you can guess the rest.

The glass was one of two, which would be some consolation but, unfortunately, the second glass hasn’t been seen since the last absinthe drinkup I organized for a few friends. I fear it was an anonymous casualty of a guest’s tipsiness – a whole bunch of glasses got smashed and I’m not sure if all of the casualties were identified. They’re replaceable, yes, but that particular set was a gift from someone and so sentiment is involved. Sigh.

I have some Belle-Epoque-ish thrift-store glasses which I can use in the meantime but it won’t be the same. Nothing releases the vapors like a Pontarlier glass. *mutter*

Oh Dear God

I was cautiously optimistic about Lucid absinthe, even after I (just now) learned that they have apparently substituted neutral grain spirits for grape alcohol in the formulation. I mean, that’s not great news, but I’m still willing to listen.

Then I saw their cocktail recipe page.

Some things do not belong in the same sentence, such as absinthe and shooter – as well as crushed chocolate cookie and rim of a martini glass. Jaysis the “Lucid Martini” could kill someone. 1.5oz of a high proof spirit and an ounce of vodka. Mother of god. And don’t tell me that such a concoction would taste good, because I’ll take out your eyeballs with an absinthe spoon for entertaining such a foolhardy notion. It’s a short cut to alcohol poisoning is what it is.

I know they’ve gotta move the product, but stuff like this reinforces my fear that they’re pushing to the over-subsidized fratboy crowd, not serious (or even semi-serious) absintheurs. Notice how they’re holding off on publishing their recipes for a Sazarec or a Death in the Afternoon? Y’know, the historical absinthe recipes?

Sigh.

Dear New Labour: WTF?

I was just enjoying a bit of vicarious vitriol over at the Beeb’s ‘Have Your Say’ area, reading responses to the question How will Tony Blair be remembered?. Be careful if following the link, the bile gets a bit deep in places.

What I want to know is what the bloody hell happened?

I know in general, of course: illegal war, rampant taxation, weirdly Orwellian “security measures”, etc etc. But that doesn’t seem to really cover it. What happened? The Labour party came in with a huge stock of public goodwill and it takes serious effort to demolish something like that. Sure, they had ten years to do it, but I’m still totally baffled as to how the left blew it so thoroughly. Yes, yes, marching in lockstep with the US rarely goes over well with the old left guard – or anyone else, lately, it seems – but the sheer intensity of public anger… it’s
a bit overwhelming.

I can’t say there’s an equivalent movement happening here in the US. No matter how GW Bush’s folks try to spin it, he didn’t come in with a ringing public mandate, as per Blair, so the disappointment doesn’t sting quite as much. Plus we always expect the conservative element to be heartless, greedy and occasionally criminal.

I suppose that’s a big part of it – public disappointment and a sense of betrayal. Lefties, I love us all to pieces, but we take everything so personally. I know that some folks are passionate about politics but, damn. I guess it’s that humanistic point of view, or something. We take it too far, wear our hearts on our sleeves – ideologically as well as emotionally – and then cry our eyes out when the inevitable betrayal rolls around.

(Yes, it’s inevitable. Cope.)

It’s human nature all over, I guess.

But back to the matter at hand, I’m quite shocked at sheer spite and anger I’m seeing – and not just on one little forum on the Beeb – as people share their notions of Blair’s “legacy”. It’s like the guy is being seen off by 72 million ex’s.

Absinthe – A Note In Passing

God knows, I post enough about absinthe that I’m sure to be coming up in some search engines, somewhere, so I guess the disclaimer is overdue.

— Absinthe doesn’t make you hallucinate any more so than any other high-proof spirit.
— Thujone content doesn’t matter. Brands that push their thujone or their bitterness aren’t worth your time or money and certainly not your tastebuds.
— If it doesn’t have at least “The Big 3” in it – anise, grand wormwood and fennel – it’s not absinthe and don’t try telling me otherwise.

Beyond that, if you have any questions or curiosity about absinthe, I can’t recommend the forces behind The Wormwood Society highly enough.

Boozepost – Hangar One Chipotle Infused Vodka

Last weekend, I made the trek to St. George Spirits and got my hands on the latest offering in their Alchemy series of infused vodkas: chipotle pepper.

According to the label – and why should they lie? – the vodka has been infused with habañero peppers, red bell peppers, along with smoked red fresno, green jalapeño, and red jalapeño peppers.

St. G puts out a very smooth, clean vodka. Adding all of the above rendered it into something like a birthday cake with a long-fused frag grenade inside – but in a good way.

What’s it taste like? Below is my train of thought during my first encounter: Continue reading

Yet More News re: Lucid Absinthe

Via the remarkably well-informed folks at wormwoodsociety.org.

7,000 bottles of Lucid will be hitting the shelves – mostly on the east coast – at the end of May.

The same informed source has tried the product, and had some surprisingly good things to say about it – silly packaging, aside. It was described as having a flavor more comparable to JE, rather than JNO or PF1901, which is fine by me, as I prefer the Edouard over the NO, anyways. Just hearing that it can be discussed in the same sentence as one of Combier’s better products is a good sign.

I’ve upgraded my feelings about Lucid from frankly skeptical to cautiously optimistic.

Now I need to make sure that my east coast pals can snag me a bottle. Fortunately, a more-local friend of mine is scheduled for a business trip to NYC at the end of the month, so my luck might be in.

A Green Postscript

A postscript to my entry of earlier today: I just received a lovely little email from the folks at St. George’s confirming that they are planning to do a limited-release absinthe, providing that jumping through all the FDA hoops proves cost-effective. I was admonished not to hold my breath for news, as progress will take “at least a few months”.

In other words “We’re going to let those other guys break the trail for us, for they are a much bigger company with more money to spend on this kind of thing and there’s nothing so valuable as learning from someone else’s experience.” I can dig that.

I definitely dig the idea of an absinthe from St. George Spirits. Locally produced and priced in USD? That would be exceedingly fab.

US-Legal Absinthe To Hit The Shelves

US-legal absinthe to hit the shelves in May ’07

On the one hand, yay! A grand wormwood absinthe distributed in the US!

On the other hand, boo! It could suck, and possibly do weird things to the market as who knows who else rushes to get a product on the shelves.

How is the product legal? Apparently the canny chaps behind it realized that if they produced something with a thujone content below the FDA limits (and a certain amount is allowed, it’s not completely forbidden) then they’ve got themselves something they can legally distribute in the USA. Strangely simple, I must admit. Continue reading