Time to revisit the green fairy
on 18/11/10 at 11:16 amSpirits
Banned in most of the world in the early 20th century, absinthe is still struggling to emerge from its shrouded history, despite the lifting of most bans in more recent years.
While the Czech Republic has been at the forefront of the drink’s renaissance, by and large Czech absinth (often spelled without the final “e”) has not been the champion the “green fairy” deserves.
And yet the emerald tide is beginning to turn as a handful of producers return to traditional distillation methods. Among them is Martin Žufánek, head distiller at his family’s Distillery Žufánek in Boršice u Blatnice, on the slopes of the White Carpathian Mountains, who began making St. Antoine’s brand absinthe in 2008.
“Absinth is a new creation invented in the 1990s which seeks to persuade the consumer that he’s drinking the infamous absinthe,” he said, “the one drunk 100 years ago in France.”
Although spelling is a good rule of thumb when perusing the shelves for top-quality spirits, there are exceptions to the rule.
Most Czech absinth falls into one of two distinct manufacturing methods: undistilled macerates or compounded oil mixes. If there is vegetal material in the bottle (or heaven forbid, a big bug) it’s a macerate, although most brands filter out any herb mass before bottling. The problem with this method is that one component in wormwood, absinthin, is extremely bitter, and it can only be removed through distillation.