I have a confession to make, as a cocktail enthusiast, blogger, and general holier-than-thou: until recently I have not owned a bottle of absinthe. Sure, I’ve had more than enough to get a taste for it at any number of bars; I’ve even drunk the excellent Sirene absinthe with Sonja Kassebaum herself. It’s just that, right before absinthe suddenly became legal again, I bought a bottle of Herbsaint and a bottle of Pernod Pastis. And, well, this is hard, but… I don’t really enjoy drinking absinthe straight, very much. And, in most cocktails, absinthe is a dash, or a drop, or a sink, or maybe a wash. I’ve been substituting Herbsaint for absinthe for three years.
So, much to my pleasure, I recently received a sample bottle of Lucid absinthe (warning: someone still thinks music on webpages is a good idea) for review (read: drinking) purposes. Despite its somewhat garish bottle design, I’ve been interested in Lucid since I read the 2007 New Yorker article on Ted Breaux. It immediately preceded Lucid’s appearance in the marketplace, but I don’t think I ever tasted the stuff. Most bars didn’t start carrying it until I moved to Champaign, IL, at which point it was clear that local-hero Sirene was the only option.
I’m pleased to say that Lucid is very pleasant. According to my amateur eye it’s got a nice, quick louche (as the cool kids say), and a strong herbal component to complement the anise flavor, with hints of fresh garden and mint. Given the rate at which I normally use the stuff, this half-bottle should last me until space-absinthe is available (I hear that stuff gives you amazing hypergreen hallucinations, man).
Start to Finish (Rowley’s Whiskey Forge)
- 1 1/2 oz Amaro Averna (sub Amaro Lucano – I’m considering creating a category of Standard Brown Amari to go hand-in-hand with my Standard Brown Drink)
- 1/2 oz Lillet blanc (Cocchi Americano)
- 1/2 oz absinthe (Lucid)
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)
- 1 (2) dash(es) orange bitters (I have no restraint)
Stir everything with ice. Strain, garnish with a lemon peel.
Do you like licorice? Well, if you do, this is the cocktail for you. I suspect that licorice is a significant component in many amari, and when you spike an amaro with absinthe, suddenly you’re in licorice city. Luckily, I enjoy the flavor of licorice (but not the candy), so this went down pretty well. It has a really nice, dry, herbal finish. I suspect the vermouth and the absinthe play a part in that.
Someday I promise I’ll talk about Italy, and drinking there. Many things were drunk, so I have to build up to it slowly.