Photo: Warren Bobrow - Leica M8
Clandestine Absinthe is a huge surprise!
Towards the beginning of the month of August I received a funky colored blue bottle from Switzerland.
Emblazoned on the label was the Swiss flag and the words that read Methode Ancestrale. But what does this mean?
And why did the packaged contain little bags of herbs?
La Clandestine Absinthe
2. Lemon Balm
3. Anis Seed
4. Star Anis
6. Fennel Seed
9. Petite Wormwood
10. Grand Wormwood
All 10 of these herbs are used in making La Clandestine Absinthe. Quantities are proprietary but all are grown at the distillery with the exception of the following
Star Anis – China
Fennel – Morroco
Anis Seed - Spain
The herbs were sent to illustrate the natural elements of the liquor and the bottle is painted blue in the traditional fashion to protect the delicate potion contained within.
And the Swiss Flag? It really is made in Switzerland. In the village where Absinthe was distilled for the first time in 1790.
This recipe is a truly historic recipe... 100% natural according to the clever website.
I've contracted a particularly virulent strain of poison oak. I itch all over. Suddenly even my palms itch. Not pleasant at all. I need booze. Either as a topical application or one taken internally.
The doctor would like for me to take a powerful steroid. I thing something else will work.
Perhaps I'm the one who is correct? Well, he certainly couldn't be more interested in my career as a cocktail writer. His whole face lit up when I told him what I do!
The water is as important as the liquor. I'm going on record to say this. I've also written about how important the ice is to a cocktail. That's why I like to control the quality of my water.
My water filter is no less important than the quality of my spirits.
True, my home is located on a particularly pure water source and I get to this source through a well.
Unfortunately this water source is packed with minerals that burn right through the copper lines.
Without filtration, the water can take on a cloudy appearance.
Hence my Mavea, Inspired Water Pitcher.
Sitting just behind the little tasting bottle of La Clandestine Absinthe is the elegantly designed Mavea Water Pitcher.
Sure we sell them at Williams-Sonoma. And yes, you can buy one on the web. I'm not sure why you don't own one yet?
They are the only filtration system that allows for a totally recycle program. Use your filter until it's time to change it and then send it back to the manufacturer for recycling!
That is pro-social. The Swiss would be very happy to say they invented this system. But they'd be incorrect in this theory.
The Mavea hails from their neighbors across the Alps. The Germans!
From a design standpoint the Mavea Water System is the most elegant thing in your refrigerator- except for maybe a bottle of La Clandestine Absinthe.
I recommend doing very little to the clear slurp.
My idea of the perfect cocktail is the simplest in my stable of fabulous drinks.
Since La Clandestine is 106 Proof, you don't have to do very much to it- to achieve a glorious buzz.
Perhaps a 2:1 ratio of Mavea Inspired Water to La Clandestine Absinthe will work?
I'm sipping a glass right now. The time is roughly 4:20 in the afternoon. The sound of the cicadas is melting into the background. I'm transported to a bucolic farmers market in Columbus, Ohio. I'm suddenly surrounded by sumptuous blueberries. Veritable bushels of them.
They speak to my sensuous nature.
Muddled Blueberries, La Clandestine Absinthe, Mavea Inspired Water. A big hit of Perrier Sparkling Water??? Crushed ice? Simple Syrup?
Tasting notes: World class aroma of fennel, liquorice, peppercorns-both pink and black... Belgian Ale nose- candy sugar finish with lingering notes of white tobacco flowers, flint and the taste of freshly cut spearmint. This gives way to the gentle notes of orange blossom and wood grilled peaches.
The Cocktail is based on the classic Absinthe Frappe' from New Orleans. It's said that this cocktail evolved from the passionate French speaking residents of New Orleans and the blistering hot summer weather, not unlike what I experienced during Tales. Hazy, hot and humid. The perfect cocktail for this type of weather is pastis, but that doesn't hold enough mystique for me.
My version of the Absinthe Frappe' is blisteringly strong. The La Clandestine Absinthe is treated to a slurry of muddled farm fresh blueberries. Then I hit the muddled blueberries with a 2 oz. shot of La Clandestine. The color of the blueberries melt into the clear liquor. There is an uneasy peace. Splashing drop by precious drop of the Mavea Inspired Water over the top reveals the darker nature of this now muddled blue and white liquor mixture. Then I add ice, also made from the water in my Mavea pitcher.
Nearly clear in appearance, the ice catches the light from the sun and refracts it into a billion rainbows- each spreading vision and pleasure around the room in a cacophony of light and color!
The blueberries ground this cocktail with the earth, the herbal quality of the liquor swirl around your tongue in a vortex of passion. Warming you deeply, you cannot escape.
A couple of splashes of the Mavea Inspired Water and Mavea Ice and they in turn capture your heart.
(Isn't that the idea???)
Danger Level 5 out of 5
The Misbegotten Youth Cocktail
Each Recipe makes ONE cocktail. I suggest making a pitcher of them, they tend to disappear very quickly!
2 oz. La Clandestine Absinthe (or your choice, I love Tenneyson, Lucid, Nouvelle Orleans, St. Georges, Amerique 1912....)
1/4 cup of the freshest blueberries
Crushed ice from the Mavea Inspired Water Pitcher
Water from the Mavea if you don't have a Mavea you can also use Perrier Sparkling Water. I think you'll like this drink a bit fizzy and well chilled...
Fresh mint for garnish
Blueberries frozen into Mavea Inspired Water ice cubes
Muddle the blueberries in a Boston Shaker
Add 2 oz. of the Absinthe
Add 2 oz. of Simple Syrup
Add some fresh ice that you have crushed. (Hence the frappe')
Add 3 oz. cool water (very slowly) or Perrier Sparkling Water well chilled (I'll imagine that fizzy is more desireable)
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
Drink very carefully and with passion!