So, you recently paid out $90 on that bottle of absinthe you have wanted forever. But have you given any thought to suitable preparation for the drink? When prepared correctly, your absinthe will taste and smell as magnificent as a bright spring morning. Yet mix it incorrectly and you will have a $125 bottle of swamp water (hint: maybe there is a reason why absinthe fountains are quite popular). We should take a look at why you should pamper this one-of-a-kind spirit.
During distillation, special botanicals and spices are used which are unique to absinthe. The herbal mixture is held in solution because of the very high alcohol content of absinthe which is often 130 to 170 proof. Adding water lowers the alcohol strength permitting the flavor and smell of the herbs to be released from the liquor. It is the process referred to as “la louche” resulting from the French term for “cloudy” or “disturbed” water. An excellent absinthe is actually evaluated from the quality of its louche which needs to display a creamy, opalescent, white appearance. Just what exactly is the trick to obtaining the ultimate louche?
Absintheurs in the Belle Epoque Age immediately learned that the method of preparation they used could mean a huge difference between making a dreadful absinthe to creating a magnificent one. The recipe has been passed on by generations and is in fact still utilized today. The delicate process of preparation is one of the many things that make absinthe such an interesting drink. The process is simple and straightforward so let’s check it out .
We know already the adding of water is what transforms absinthe from a simple high proof alcohol into a beautiful experience that only the fortunate few that have indulged could accurately describe. But were you aware that the way the water is added is the most significant step? You see, if you add the water too rapidly you only will release about 50% of the fragrance and flavor. If the essential oils are exposed to air to quickly, they oxidize and lose much of their taste and aroma. If water is added to quickly, you expose the oils to air to quickly and sacrifice a large portion of your herbs to oxidation. If you add water slowly, the alcohol proof drops slowly. This allows every single molecule of taste and fragrance to become separated from the water and completely come to existence.
The ultimate way to add water is to drop it directly into the glass using an absinthe fountain or dripper. These tools were created to drip water to absinthe at just the right rate. If you don’t have access to one of these, it is possible to use a carafe. When using a carafe however, it’s best to pour a really narrow stream of water at the slowest rate you possibly can. It is fascinating to note that through the Belle Epoque, French bistros employed a waiter specifically taught to pour water from a carafe for absinthe customers. This ability has been handed down from father to son that would take the father’s place of the establishments absinthe pourer in the event that he passed away.
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