Tasting Notes: Lucid Absinthe

Absinthe

Having no special connections in the spirits industry, I’ve been waiting patiently to get my bottle of Lucid absinthe for several months. The first true absinthe to reach the U.S. market since the drink was banned nearly 100 years ago, Lucid has caused quite a stir in the spirits world. But so far it’s only distributed in New York and New Jersey. And according to the friendly folks at John Walker Co., who I went and pestered recently, it won’t be available for another month or more. They did let slip, however, that St. George Spirits is about to release an absinthe of their own - did I hear that right?! Reason to check back next month, but not good enough right now.

After a little sleuthing online, I discovered that Drink Up NY not only carried Lucid, but it was $5 off, and they offer free shipping on all orders of $50 or more. Done. My bottle was delivered to the office yesterday, and Andy and I cracked it open for a tasting last night.

I haven’t tried any of the absinthes available on the international market, but for what it’s worth, I was impressed by the crispness, balance, and complexity of Lucid’s flavors. Though it is not as thick or rich looking as some of the varieties I’ve seen pictured online, it has a pleasant, silky mouthfeel and an excellent aftertaste. Even as other quality absinthes arrive on the market, the accessibly and reasonable price of Lucid will probably make it my default absinthe for cocktails.

How to Drink Absinthe

Absinthe should be prepared very slowly. Though you can omit the sugar, and even the water, this is the most traditional method and brings out the flavors beautifully.

1. Pour 1-1.5 ounces absinthe into a glass. Rest an absinthe spoon - or a common kitchen fork :) - on the rim of the glass and place a sugar cube on top.

2. Very slowly, drip ice cold water over the sugar cube until it dissolves. You may need to continue adding water until you’ve reached a ratio somewhere between 3:1 and 5:1 of water to absinthe.

3. As the sugar dissolves and the water drips into the absinthe, observe the liquid as it begins to grow cloudy. Eventually the whole drink will be opaque.

4. Stir a few times with the spoon and enjoy.

Notes: For a charming demonstration on preparing absinthe, take a look at this video clip. For more on the legality of absinthe, here’s a good article from the Washington Post.

8 Responses to “Tasting Notes: Lucid Absinthe”

  1. We did a comparative tasting of Lucid with two absinthes (Jade 1901 and Fougerolles) that our friends schlepped back from Europe, and it fared pretty well — especially when factoring in their relative price points and availability.

    It’s a bit buried at the end of this post, in case you’re interested:
    http://marriedwithdinner.com/2007/07/06/dotw-sazerac/

  2. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I just purchased my first bottle of Lucid a couple days ago. This is the first time I have ever tried absinthe and I cannot lie, I found the flavor to be unexpectedly bad. The aroma was pleasant enough but I did not expect the flavor be so strong and “black licorice-like.” I did mix with a sugar cube and ice cold water but I found this drink quite unenjoyable. On the other hand I am a big whiskey drinker & know that whiskey, especially fine whiskey, is developed and acquired taste. Im wondering, what common drink recipes are there absinthes?

  4. i have just returned from new orleans and unexpectedly had my first absinthe encounter, i am hooked. i agree w/latham regarding the taste of a traditional preparation, however i discovered another version which was much more pleasant. this was made using the Lucid brand in a tiny bar on pirates alley and is very simple. 1,5-2,0 ounces of absinthe added to 8 ounces iced cocacola (or pepsi, im sure). the licorice flavor was still strong, but it seemed more like a Barq’s rootbeer than anything else.
    HTH

  5. Unfortunately, this has all been a big marketing hype. I own a liquor store in NY, and can promise you this: What you are drinking is only a very strong alcoholic beverage. Wormwood and thujone (the active ingrediuents in REAL Absinthe) have been banned in the US for many years now because of thier dangerous side effects. The fact that Lucid is claiming that they use Wormwood in thier recipies is only a marketing scam. It is true that they use Wormwood however, it is not the same wormwood that was used many years ago before the absinthe prohibition. The Thujone is also there bu, once again, it is not the same. If you want a true absinthe, try the international market. Many of the absinthe distributors out there are very good, and have a true product-price-point. An 8 ounce bottle of true absinthe is generally around $75 to $100. Lucid sells for about $60 for a 750mL. See the difference?

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