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Finally Tasted Absinthe - Yuck

About 7 bucks at Bevmo: “Absente, Absinthe Refined’, 110 proof, 100 ml (but I found it at the checkout stand, so do not know if it is a regular stock item). It has a strong herbal component (reminds me of Ricola cough drops), and overpowering licorice taste (I hate licorice). It has only just become legal to import it into the US, and I was really curious so I tried it. Ewww… I guess it would be valuable in mixed drinks (but I am not a big fan of sweet mixed drinks), or for medicinal uses.

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  1. Some versions of Absente aren't considered real absinthe, but pastis (essentially absinthe substitute). The "fake" stuff is made with Southern wormwood instead of the grande wormwood that aficionados consider a hallmark of real absinthe. But regardless, if you hate the taste of anise / licorice, there's not an absinthe or pastis product out there that you're going to like.

    1. sounds like you drank it straight up. You are supposed to mix it with cold water and melt a suger cube in it...

      1. Jerry,

        Here is a good video on how to prepare an Absinthe Drip, which is what ac106 has suggested below. The added sugar and dilution mellow the flavors and may make it more enjoyable for you.

        However, I'll second what MC Slim JB had to say. If you're not a licorice fan then you'll likely not be an absinthe fan.


        1. What AC says is correct. The prpoer way to drink absinthe is to put a healthy jigger or so into a glass, then pour about 3-4 oz cold water into it slowly over a sugar cube that is suspended over the glass on an absinthe spoon( a pierced flat long-bowled "spoon") that is set across the rim of the glass with the sugar cube set on it. The watere will turn the absinthe cloudy. This is the usual way(minus the sugar) that all Europeans, especially the French, will drink any pastis-type drink. It really requires that you like licorice flavor, or you'll not like Pastis or Absinthe. Absente is not really absinthe, but is not a bad substitute. You can go online and find a number of prodicers/negociants who will ship real absinthe to the US these days. many of these products are made with the same recipes and even in the same stills as they were back in the 19th century, and are quite excellent.

          1. after all the years of smuggling absinth in to build a collection now you can just order it


            1 Reply
            1. re: thew

              Well, all good things must come to and end . . .

            2. Good God, man! You had it STRAIGHT?

              11 Replies
              1. re: zin1953

                YES, I drank it STRAIGHT. Course, I also regularly drink 151 rum and unsweetened orange extract (homemade) straight. The label on the Absente bottle had the dilute-with-water-and-add-sugar recipe, but this was even worse: it tasted like herbal/licorice mouth wash. Ewww. That's what I get for buying weird stuff on impulse without researching on Chowhound first. Also, good thing I discovered Absinthe is licorice-y for only seven bucks rather than seventy. I had no idea that Absinthe is really just another one of those complex/herbal/spice concoctions, that happens to contain wormwood.

                1. re: jerry i h

                  Yah, if you don't like licorice or sambuca, you will never like absinthe. I'll be currious to see how long absinthe remain popular now that the mystery is gone and it has to stand solely on its flavor. I don't recall seeing too many fancy sambuca contraptions lately.

                  1. re: FlaHopper

                    Fancy sambuca contraptions being coffee beans?

                  2. re: jerry i h

                    >>> I had no idea that Absinthe is really just another one of those complex/herbal/spice concoctions, that happens to contain wormwood. <<<

                    And who's fault is that? Do you always buy things you have so little idea about? Pernod, Ricard, and most other Pastis producers got started as makers of Absinthe and, as it became illegal, took out the wormwood.

                    And, Good Lord, why on earth would you drink 151 rum straight???

                    1. re: zin1953

                      Actually, I try wierd stuff I don't know all the time. That is how I discovered cachaca (hey, what's this? it comes from Brazil?) and St George Whisky (whisky, in Alameda?).

                      I actually drank straight a substantial portion of a bottle of 151 rum once, sipping as for an aperitif because someone said it has a purer rum flavor (it doesn't; the flavor is simply weaker, and twice as alcoholic to boot).

                  3. re: zin1953

                    I knew an old provencal who would simply place an ice cube in his double-pastis, sometimes adding about a teaspoon's worth of water. So, essentially that's straight Pastis 51. Of course, it took him 60 years or so of slowly reducing the amount of water to end up at that point.

                    1. re: zin1953

                      Straight absinthe, if the absinthe is of good quality, is a delicious sipper. It's akin to sipping silver tequila, or cask-strength Scotch whisky.

                      Adding sugar to absinthe was a practice employed when the bitter wormwood content was overwhelming. Good absinthe no more requires sugar and water added than good bourbon requires Coke and ice, IMO.

                      1. re: Josh

                        Yeah, that was my thought. Somewhere on the board is a link about Absinthe that talks about the good and bad absinthe. It is like anything else. You can buy Andre Sparkling wine , but that doesn't really represent what good champagne tastes like.

                        Maybe by the end of the bottle of the absinthe, you won't care what it tastes like.

                        1. re: Josh

                          I agree that a good Absinthe is good on its own, and that sugar isn't really necessary either, but I would say that water isn't quite so dispensable. Adding water brings the herbs used in the distilling process to come out of suspension which makes for a fairly different experience. Also, as it hovers around 160 proof, cutting it with water can be a somewhat prudent maneuver.

                          1. re: boozemonkey

                            think cocktail, not shot... one of the main purposes in shaking or stirring cocktails is to add water into the mix.....

                            1. re: thew

                              EXACTLY! I love Ricard, Pernod, etc., etc. but I'd never drink 'em straight!

                      2. Not sure if you get the cable channel Mojo, but there is a show called "Three Sheets" where a guy travels the world trying different alcohols and spirits. He had one show where he tried a bunch of Absinthe. He said it was disgusting and he had a hard time finding anyone who wanted to drink it with him. That was enough to turn me off to wanting to try it, legal or not.