Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home Made Absinthe

Around this time every year I am usually fermenting grapes from the backyard. But the rats got them before I did, I mean every single grape, before they were ripe. Oh well, I guess they have to eat too. But I did manage to find some bottles of wine from last year and had a pleasant day making absinthe. It is not only local but small batch to a ridiculous degree as you can see. If the wine was about 12% I guess this is not bad for three bottles. It was soaked with dried Artemisia absinthium, which a friend brought me (the only imported ingredient) with herbs from the backyard including southernwood (a close relative), rue, sage, bay, beebalm and fennel. Then distilled. It was the slowest distillation I've ever done, not sure why. Maybe it was all the herbiage. Next to it is the tiniest batch of distilled mead made from 2 lbs of local honey. I'm not sure if anyone on earth does make a honey distillate, and I can certainly understand why they wouldn't. From about 1.5 liters of mead I got a few shots of hooch, which I guess makes sense if it was about 5%.

8 comments:

lostpastremembered said...

I do love absinthe... especially the terribly herby variety. I used to have a giant bush of the wooly green stuff and a prop took a bundle and made some from scratch... I could understand why people went blind with the high alcohol content. I can't believe you distilled it.... you are a wonder.

Ken Albala said...

What? I can't see the screen. Or anything.

Laura@silkroadgourmet said...

Fantastic!

Do you have a commercial still or do you rig up a homemade one?

Also, why is it not green? I would expect that the herbs would make it so, no?

Do like the green fairy, indeed. . .

Ken Albala said...

Hey Laura, it's a small copper still you can buy on line from Al Ambiq, made in Portugal. All distillates come out perfectly clear. Absinthe usually has herbs added back in after to give it the color.

Glenn said...

Rats with unripe grapes...hmmm, sounds like you could come up with a rodentia verjus, or something.

I never made an absinthe, but I did once freeze-distill a batch of mead that came out rather ho-hum. It was pretty tasty after. As to commercial mead distillation, you might find something close to that with Barunjaeger--though whether that is a mead distilled into something delightfully dangerous, or a distillate with honey added, I couldn't tell you after all this time.

Ken Albala said...

Glenn, Someone asked me the same question on facebook about Barenjaeger. Apparently it is grain alcohol with "real" honey added. Whoop.

Ken Albala said...

http://combvodka.com/the-spirits/

YES apparently there is a honey based spirit. I LOVE their approach to distilling. Only if you're using crap do you need to distill many times to get rid of the bad flavors. Otherwise once works perfectly.

Rebecca Altman said...

I tasted home distilled absinthe for the first time a few weeks ago; it was exquisite. So glad to read about it here-- it doesn't sound too difficult at all!