The next big thing in American drinking seems to be craft distilling. Much like the craft brewing trend a few decades ago this has some ups and downs. I’m all for it. We will get some duds but that will sort itself out after a while. What does seem to be interesting is the idea for each craft distillery to try their hand at Absinthe.
As I love the Green Fairy there are a few things I would like to point out to these intrepid distillers in the hopes of keeping domestic Absinthe at the high quality that it has surprisingly enjoyed since 2007.
First things first, you’re not first. While you might be the first in your state you are by far not the first American craft distiller to do a historically accurate Absinthe, not by a long shot. There are Absinthes out there with tweaked traditional recipes and those that are spot on recreations down to the antique style pot-still used. Do some homework on the most respected brands from America to see what you’re up against. While you’re at it, get some imports as well, especially if they are for sale in America.
Speaking of all this, do some research. What does real Absinthe taste like? What are the historical traditions? How do you prepare it? What style variations exist? If you haven’t already done so, check out my crash course for a quick and dirty answer to these questions. As a distiller it would be wise to do some more research, especially if you find a direction to move in.
Respect tradition. I’m not saying you have to be a purist. By all means put your artistic spin on your product and make it stand out in the marketplace. You’ll need to if you want to survive. Just know where you come from. A vodka should “taste” like vodka, not tequila. Gin should taste like gin, not whiskey. Absinthe should be recognizable as Absinthe, not something completely different.
Respect Absinthe. If you know what Absinthe is, then you know what it’s not. All these ideas of wild, near drug experiences are just rumor and you know it. Please don’t market your product with gimmicky nods to false promises and shock-value stupidity. There’s an established Absinthe scene in the states and they hold the misaligned spirit dear to their hearts. Don’t spit in their face and treat them like some naive goth kid who is only out for a shock, you’ll regret it if you do.
While this might seem obvious to my readers I feel that this mini-lecture should be out there. I’ve already tasted and reviewed one domestic Absinthe that mimicked horrid fauxsinthe all too well. For the most part American Absintheurs have enjoyed decent to superior Absinthe being made in the states. It would be a shame to see our craft distilling boom take that away from us.