Absinthe in SF?
November 25, 2008 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I need some absinthe for a party in SF.

(Anon because it's a surprise)
I think the previous Absinthe threads on the blue were before the 'ban' was lifted and I don't know if things are different now.

Most of the online stores I've seen recommend getting Blanche, but I'd like a couple of bottles of Verte too. Unfortunately there's way too many distillers online and I don't really know how to choose. Does the Green (ha!) have any recommendations?
Bonus points for a local or online store!
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

St. George, Lucid, and Kubler are pretty much the ones available in stores these days. BevMo should have Lucid and Kubler, and K&L on 4th St. should have the St. George.
posted by gatorbiddy at 12:28 PM on November 25, 2008

I got a bottle at BevMo.
posted by jasper411 at 12:34 PM on November 25, 2008

Or you could just ask at Absinthe.
posted by kittyprecious at 1:18 PM on November 25, 2008

At the moment, selections are limited to the aforementioned brands. I've tried the Lucid and have read in many reviews that it has an "authentic" taste. The Kubler, which is Swiss, was quite enjoyable and may be the only Blanche available I believe.

If this is for a party, you should also try making Sazerac cocktails.
posted by cazoo at 2:00 PM on November 25, 2008

Get Lucid. Based on my experience, which includes paying a ton to have stuff shipped to me from overseas when it was still illegal, Lucid is good stuff. And it was formulated by T.A. Breaux, who is a serious expert on authentic absinthe. He's also a scientist, and used preserved bottles of original absinthe to reproduce the most authentic recipes.
posted by thejanna at 2:34 PM on November 25, 2008

You'll find al of the brands mentioned here at my two favorite liquor stores in SF: John Walker and D&M Liquors.

You can buy absinthe at BevMo, but why not go to a pleasant, locally owned store instead?
posted by aladfar at 3:21 PM on November 25, 2008

A list of US approved absinthes can be found here. The only brands I've actually seen for sale in the US have been at BevMo, and are mentioned above, with the single addition of Mansinthe. Granted, I haven't been looking very hard.

Restrictions regarding absinthe in the US were relaxed somewhat last year; absinthe can now be sold in the US but must be thujone free (less than 10 parts per million). There is an enduring misconception about the "psychoactive" properties of thujone (really, you are not going to trip on absinthe), which prompted the panic which led to the initial ban. However, it is currently believed that the thujone level of pre-ban absinthes was mistaken to be much, much higher than it actually was, and that many of the pre-ban labels would pass the current US guidelines. In fact, thujone is naturally found in sage, and there is likely to be more thujone in your helping of Thanksgiving dressing than in a several glasses of absinthe. If you still want a relatively high thujone absinthe, you'll have to try your hand at importing a bottle from Europe, which is very costly and probably not worth the (admittedly low) risk of seizure unless you are looking to sample a particular label. And really, anything touting itself as "high-thujone" should be avoided at all costs.

While the only US approved absinthe I've personally tasted is the Kubler (it was fine, though I'm less fond of le blanche), I've read a lot about the Lucid and it will probably be my next absinthe purchase. Ted Breaux is well respected and his products consistently rank among the highest rated bottles in production. I've read favorable reviews about the Mansinthe as well.

If after all that, you absolutely must import a bottle, I've found the Verte de Fougerolles to be a good absinthe at a reasonable(!) price. Duplais has a few labels that consistently score highly, but are less to my own taste. I've really enjoyed and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Twin Tec, Eichelberger, and Montmartre as well, though the Ike and the Monty each have some dominant flavors that tend to deviate from the "traditional." (I haven't yet splurged on any of Ted Breaux's Jades, so if anyone out there is looking to send me a Christmas present, keep that in mind!)

La Fee Verte has many excellent reviews and is a wealth of information on all things absinthe.
posted by malocchio at 3:39 PM on November 25, 2008

And a warning to anyone who develops a taste for la fee verte: the very act of writing about it may have a devastating effect on one's reserves.
posted by malocchio at 3:53 PM on November 25, 2008

Lucid is quite good and readily available online. Reviews from Wired, Food and Wine and The Spirit World. The link is to Sam's, which is a great online liqueur store here in the Midwest. Lucid's website lists many other distributors.
posted by rtimmel at 7:38 AM on November 26, 2008

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