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St. George Absinthe Verte
About St. George Absinthe Verte
St. George Absinthe Verte is produced by St. George Spirits – a California-based company founded in 1982 by Jörg Rupf. Coming from a family with distillation experience in the Black Forest area of Germany, Jörg ended up in Alameda, where he became an integral part of the craft spirits movement. St. George produces a variety of spirits including gin, whiskey, vodka, brandy, liqueurs, and other specialty offerings.
This particular bottle of Absinthe Verte was launched by the brand in 2007, making it the first legally-made American absinthe since it was banned in 1912. It is made from a brandy base and real botanicals including wormwood, fennel, star anise, mint, tarragon, lemon balm, opal basil, hyssop, and stinging nettle. It is bottled at a whopping 120 proof, which is actually fairly average for absinthe.
❖ ABV: 60%
❖ Distillery: St. George Spirits
❖ Aging: none
❖ Price Point: lower moderate price
❖ black licorice
❖ grass profiles
My Tasting notes
For my straight tasting, I thought it best to dilute the absinthe with an equal amount of filtered water. Since this bottle is a whopping 120 proof, I wanted to protect my mouth and throat, even though I wasn’t doing a full traditional drip. As you can see, adding the water created an interesting milky effect with the absinthe.
I took a whiff of this absinthe, and there were nice licorice notes on the nose. The scent was sweet and woody. After several sniffs, I realized the woody note was sarsaparilla root. I’m a big fan of sarsaparilla tea, so perhaps that is why the scent stood out.
I took my first sip, and it was very strong and tingly on my tongue. I did not pick up on any particular flavors until my second sip, when bitter wood-like notes began to come in. I found it curious how subtle the anise notes were throughout my sipped tasting. No recognizable flavor notes really jumped to the forefront. Just a whole lot of bitterness!
Overall, my brain could recognize the interesting attributes of this absinthe as I went, but I felt my whole body and soul reject it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but I simply could not wait for the experience to be over.
I decided to choose this recipe for the The Better Half in order to test out St. George Absinthe Verte in a cocktail. For the life of me, I cannot figure out which website, book, or magazine I originally found this recipe in, but luckily I did write down the author’s name when I saved it – Carlos David Garcia! Unlike many other absinthe recipes, it has a generous ratio of absinthe for what will hopefully be a very anise-forward drink. And, now that I’ve gotten my hands on a maraschino liqueur, I finally have all the ingredients to make this recipe. Talk about fate!
The Better Half
❖ 1 oz absinthe
❖ 3/4 oz vanilla liqueur
❖ 1/2 oz pimento (allspice) dram
❖ 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
- Add the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice, and stir until chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a glass, and enjoy.
Inside of a cocktail, I enjoyed this absinthe a lot better. The licorice flavor was present, but was cut nicely by the other flavors. There was an earthy sweetness to the drink that remained consistent with each sip.
The mouthfeel of this cocktail left a pleasant slimy feeling throughout my mouth. I found the combination of flavors to be very tasty.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about St. George Absinthe Verte. Although it was very interesting to experience, I wasn’t quite happy with the taste, or the way it made my body feel. The tipsy sensations I experienced were a bit sluggish and nauseated. That said, I don’t feel it’s fair to judge a bottle too harshly based on my own sensitivities. My body doesn’t always respond well to brandy, and this bottle is made with a brandy base. At the very least, it’s a decent choice to pick up if you enjoy brandy-based things and like to try unique botanical spirits.
I feel that St. George shines best in cocktails, where it adds a very nice licorice flavor to the larger recipe. However, I do wish the other advertised flavor notes were a bit more noticeable against mixers. I found that the sarsaparilla got mostly drowned out by the anise and allspice. The other 8 botanicals used to make the absinthe were not even perceptible to me. Still, it was a pretty enjoyable cocktail experience.
It you’re a fan of licorice, go ahead and try out St. George Absinthe Verte for yourself!
As always, drink responsibly.
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