Vice Squad
Friday, May 11, 2007
Legal Absinthe in the US

After nearly a century of prohibition, absinthe has found its way back to the European legal mix. But in the US, absinthe sales have remain proscribed. A close relative trades legally under the brand name Absente, however -- the recipe for Absente does not involve the use of (grande) wormwood, the ingredient that was blamed (probably incorrectly) for absinthe-related harms. (The high alcohol content and the standard failings of humanity were probably the real culprits.)

But now a new version of absinthe has received official imprimatur for sales in the US. The innovative distillation has a strong pedigree, being crafted by the absinthe-obsessed Ted Breaux, whose research suggests that Belle Epoque-era absinthe contained essentially no thujone (the worrisome compound in wormwood), nor did it inherit the bitterness of wormwood. Mr. Breaux could thus fashion a drink, perhaps, that would both be true to the tradition of high-quality absinthes while meeting US legal muster. Now the product of his efforts, distilled in France, is available in the US under the brand name lucid. Here's a review following its recent debut; lucid is 62% alcohol, which is not a particularly strong concoction by absinthe standards.

If you think that Vice Squad spends a bit too much time with absinthe, stay well clear of these blogs.

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