Make Your Own Absinthe

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Dec 10, 2007 6:00PM

2007_12_lucid.jpgThere's a new absinthe on the market called Lucid that's catching on at places like the Violet Hour, Lumen, and Delilah's, namely because Lucid is the first Grande wormwood-based absinthe available in the States since before Prohibition. Now, we've tried the "green fairy" and it was an experience we'll never forget, so we researched Lucid for details on how much thujone (the active ingredient from wormwood) it carries.

Turns out, not much at all: under 10 parts per million, as mandated by the FDA. What the distillers of Lucid are doing is using Grande Wormwood in the distillation, but effectively filtering out the thujone before bottling. In other words, it's no stronger than Absente, Pernod, or other anise-flavored cordials on the market. We contacted Adam Seger of Nacional 27, who's an expert on absinthe. At one point, Seger wrote the FDA asking for clarification on wormwood extract availability. He discovered that wormwood extract could be purchased as a dietary supplement, but not sold for food. So, we asked, you could conceivably buy some vodka from Sam's and wormwood extract at Whole Foods and make your own absinthe, huh?

Seger provided us with two recipes. We're going to share one of them with you as an early holiday gift.

What You Need

1 pint vodka
2 tsp crumbled wormwood (dried)
2 tsp anise seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
4 cardamom pods
1 tsp majoram
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp chopped angelica root
1- 2/3 cups sugar syrup

Place vodka in a large jar with tight-fitting lid. Add wormwood and shake well. Steep for 48 hours and strain out. Crush seeds and pods in mortar. Add them and all remaining spices to vodka and steep in a warm place 1 week. Filter and sweeten. (The sugar syrup mentioned above is your standard simple syrup.)

We've already got our absinthe ready to go for New Year's.

If you don't want to run around buying the ingredients, you can purchase an absinthe making kit online. So there are options other than buying a bottle of Lucid to see if you'll hallucinate from drinking it. 'Course if you drink enough of anything you'll see goblins. So, as with any spirit, drink your absinthe responsibly.