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That happens to me when I drink rum!

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When I was a kid we'd buy Pernod and then double boil it to infuse wormwood back into it so it was hallucinogenic. 

Usually it came out as a boggy mess, but a few times we got it just right. So much trouble though. 

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Really don't want to invalidate your childhood memories but wormwood is NOT hallucinogenic and the whole thing is a myth that was debunked years ago. Wormwood is used in a bunch of other stuff like vermouth and you never hear of people calling vermouth hallucinogenic. People were also talking about thujone being the chemical in wormwood that was causing these "special" effects, but common sage also contains thujone and again you never hear of people getting high after eating sage.

Over the years I've had probably over a hundred different absinthes, all with different recipes and different amounts of wormwood, because it's one of my favorite drinks and never felt anything besides the effects of the alcohol. And before someone says that they were "not the real thing", I even had vintage absinthe from surviving bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Can't get more "real" than that. The only additional effect from those absinthes was the severe wallet pain. Century old bottles are not cheap but man they are delicious!

On a different but related note, I find top shelf absinthes to be a fantastic cigar pairing. Gotta do a pairing review one of these days.

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5 minutes ago, Enduin said:

Really don't want to invalidate your childhood memories but wormwood is NOT hallucinogenic and the whole thing is a myth that was debunked years ago. Wormwood is used in a bunch of other stuff like vermouth and you never hear of people calling vermouth hallucinogenic. People were also talking about thujone being the chemical in wormwood that was causing these "special" effects, but common sage also contains thujone and again you never hear of people getting high after eating sage.

Over the years I've had probably over a hundred different absinthes, all with different recipes and different amounts of wormwood, because it's one of my favorite drinks and never felt anything besides the effects of the alcohol. And before someone says that they were "not the real thing", I even had vintage absinthe from surviving bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Can't get more "real" than that. The only additional effect from those absinthes was the severe wallet pain. Century old bottles are not cheap but man they are delicious!

On a different but related note, I find top shelf absinthes to be a fantastic cigar pairing. Gotta do a pairing review one of these days.

Very interesting, and thanks for sharing your experiences here. I'm very much a neophyte to absinthe. If I were looking to explore a few, where would you recommend I start? Also, can you recommend a good absinthe/cigar pairing?

Thanks!

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Let me preface by saying that the absinthe market is a bit of a giant mess right now; distribution has always been an issue with absinthe due to it being a super niche product and distributors not wanting to invest into stocking it, plus just a week ago one the main international absinthe online stores in Europe closed down. So, finding them might not be the easiest thing. I don't want to post links but you can always PM me and I can try to help you out.

As far as pairings, I really like wine based absinthes like the Combier Enteté with a full-bodied cigar like a Bolivar. It also works well with a VR Famoso. Absinthe L'Ancienne was an even better pairing but it's currently out of production and bottles are rare as hens teeth.

I also really like the Meadow of Love, which is a more delicate, floral absinthe, with a Hoyo Epi 1. When pairing with a more delicate cigar make sure that you are not drinking the abinthe at the lower range of dilution. Another fantastic option is absinthe L'Italienne but again out of production and super rare.

Other options that I haven't had a chance to try yet but I believe would work very well are Butterfly absinthe (which has a citrusy orange peel note) with a Juan Lopez No 1 or 2, or Leopold Bros absinthe verte (which is made with a very fruity pisco base) with a San Luis Rey.

As a general rule since high quality absinthe is a very complex drink, I like to find a flavor note that matches the cigar to anchor the absinthe to the cigar and let the rest of the bouquet play around that note. 

Speaking of dilution, I'm not sure how much you already know, so ignore this if it's redundant. Absinthe is a concentrate just like grenadine syrup, for example. It's meant to be diluted with ice cold water before drinking it. How much you dilute it is your choice but I tend to use one part absinthe to 2.5-3 parts water. Adding sugar or not is also a personal preference. When paired with a Hoyo or other milder cigars I dilute the absinthe a little more (3.5 to 4 parts water). Once diluted, it should be around 15% alcohol (like wine). Some people drink it straight from the bottle undiluted at 72% alcohol and then unsurprisingly comment that it's undrinkable. Don't do that. But most of all do not set it on fire like they show on some movies. It will utterly ruin the absinthe, just like it would ruin any fine spirit.

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On 9/4/2021 at 9:53 AM, Enduin said:

Really don't want to invalidate your childhood memories but wormwood is NOT hallucinogenic and the whole thing is a myth that was debunked years ago. Wormwood is used in a bunch of other stuff like vermouth and you never hear of people calling vermouth hallucinogenic. People were also talking about thujone being the chemical in wormwood that was causing these "special" effects, but common sage also contains thujone and again you never hear of people getting high after eating sage.

Over the years I've had probably over a hundred different absinthes, all with different recipes and different amounts of wormwood, because it's one of my favorite drinks and never felt anything besides the effects of the alcohol. And before someone says that they were "not the real thing", I even had vintage absinthe from surviving bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Can't get more "real" than that. The only additional effect from those absinthes was the severe wallet pain. Century old bottles are not cheap but man they are delicious!

On a different but related note, I find top shelf absinthes to be a fantastic cigar pairing. Gotta do a pairing review one of these days.

We did we what we could. And the only internet access was via university back in those days. Usenet wasn't even know to me at that time despite being the oldest part of the internet. 

Sorry to offend. Was poor and working by word of mouth.

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On 9/4/2021 at 10:53 PM, Enduin said:

Really don't want to invalidate your childhood memories but wormwood is NOT hallucinogenic and the whole thing is a myth that was debunked years ago. Wormwood is used in a bunch of other stuff like vermouth and you never hear of people calling vermouth hallucinogenic. People were also talking about thujone being the chemical in wormwood that was causing these "special" effects, but common sage also contains thujone and again you never hear of people getting high after eating sage.

Over the years I've had probably over a hundred different absinthes, all with different recipes and different amounts of wormwood, because it's one of my favorite drinks and never felt anything besides the effects of the alcohol. And before someone says that they were "not the real thing", I even had vintage absinthe from surviving bottles from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Can't get more "real" than that. The only additional effect from those absinthes was the severe wallet pain. Century old bottles are not cheap but man they are delicious!

On a different but related note, I find top shelf absinthes to be a fantastic cigar pairing. Gotta do a pairing review one of these days.

I could only find absinthe in Spain back in the 90s. Rumor had it that was the only place in Europe where it was made and legal to sell. I bought two bottles of the stuff and it was either 70% or even over 90% alcohol (still have one, need to find it back from a box in storage).

We drank it in sort of shot glasses dropping a sugar cube in each glass, stirring it, and then adding two three large ice cubes. I think we got it from a movie. 

Based upon our own experiences, we always thought that the high alcohol content was the reason for messing with people's minds. As every time we got around to drink the absinthe someone always lost the plot for some reason. It was just too strong, even in diluted quantities, since the alcohol amount added up quickly just by having a few. 

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8 hours ago, Meesterjojo said:

We did we what we could. And the only internet access was via university back in those days. Usenet wasn't even know to me at that time despite being the oldest part of the internet. 

Sorry to offend. Was poor and working by word of mouth.

No offense taken! Unfortunately there was (and there still is) a lot of misinformation about absinthe both on the internet and even more so with word of mouth, so it's totally understandable that some people can be misled.

 

5 hours ago, Edicion said:

I could only find absinthe in Spain back in the 90s. Rumor had it that was the only place in Europe where it was made and legal to sell. I bought two bottles of the stuff and it was either 70% or even over 90% alcohol (still have one, need to find it back from a box in storage).

We drank it in sort of shot glasses dropping a sugar cube in each glass, stirring it, and then adding two three large ice cubes. I think we got it from a movie. 

Based upon our own experiences, we always thought that the high alcohol content was the reason for messing with people's minds. As every time we got around to drink the absinthe someone always lost the plot for some reason. It was just too strong, even in diluted quantities, since the alcohol amount added up quickly just by having a few. 

Spain was indeed one of the countries where absinthe (or as they call it absenta) was never banned. Several French distilleries actually moved to Spain after the ban and continued production. Unfortunately by the 90s the absinthe in Spain had all become fairly low quality and made with essential oils, as opposed to a high quality spirit distilled from herbs steeped in alcohol and colored with a secondary herb infusion, which is what absinthe is supposed to be. That is unless you managed to find some of the older bottles form the 50s-60s which were still quite good. If it was 90% alcohol though I guarantee it was not the good stuff.

The alcohol content of 1 glass of absinthe properly prepared is like I mentioned similar to a glass of a robust red wine (you are supposed to use only 2-3cl of absinthe per glass or around 1 US fluid ounce). But because it is prepared with ice cold water, it's one of those drinks that is a little TOO easy to drink and you will definitely get hammered after a few glasses. However I actually believe the placebo effect is largely responsible for the effects that some people claim.

I've actually assisted to an experiment where people were given a pastis like Pernod (which is similar to absinthe but contains no wormwood, usually no fennel and the green anise is replaced by star anise) and told that they were given absinthe. After being prepared with water a pastis looks identical to absinthe, especially to an untrained eye. Most of the people reported weird effects and claimed that they were getting high off of the absinthe. Except that they were not drinking absinthe 🤣

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