Steeped Absinthe

* Complex recipes
* Simple recipes

Absinthe made by distillation is quite a modern technique, really only become popular with the advent of the Pernod fils factory (circa 1800). However absinthe based drinks predate this by many centuries. The older technique for making absinthe used the simple method of steeping wormwood in an alcoholic drink, such as beer or wine. This method of making absinthe is far simpler, quicker and less likely to be illegal than any method involving heating the alcohol and herbs (which my contravene local distillation regulations). It also produces very acceptable results.

For all of the recipes listed below the herbs where left in the bottle of alcohol for two weks before being strained. Most of these recipes seem to improve somewhat for being left after having all of the herbs removed, and equally they are of varying bitterness. However they are so far all quite palatable, some tasting more like modern absinthe than others, your milage may and probably will vary.

The best way to find what works for you is to experiment, however I would make one recomendation in that using cheaper ingredients will reduce the quality of the finished product. When ever possible I would recommend using fresh herbs, and good quality alchohol.

All of these recipes are similair to those found in the Absinthe FAQ

The recipes

(f) = fresh herb

wormwood artimesia absinthium was used through out, and all of the ingredients where crushed or bruised within the liquid used before being left to steep

Complex recipes

* Vodka recipe 1
1 large leaf of wormwood (f)
1 inch liquorice stick crushed
1 star anise
small pinch of fennel (f)
small amount of angelica
quarter tsp. aniseed
half a litre of shirmnof black label

The liquorice star anise and half of the vodka where mixed about a week before adding the rest of the herbs, including wormwwood, and the other half of the vodka. As this was experimental only about half a litre was made. After a week steeping on a warm sunny window ledge, the mixture was strained. It was a tan colour with a slight greenish tinge, if held to the light. It was quite bitter, with a slight after taste. I don't know if this one improves with age as it was drunk within 2 weeks

* Vodka and Vanilla
1 large leaf of wormwood (f)
green tops of fennel (f)
a vanilla pod
1 star anise
pinch of dried oak
lemon balm (f)
half a litre of shirmnof black label

Again only half a litre was made, as these where all experimental. The star anise and half of the vanilla pod where added to half of the vodka about a week before adding the rest of the ingredients to the bottle. This was also left to steep on a sunny window ledge for a week. This has a darker hue after straining than the previous recipe but has a much mellower taste, due largely to the vanilla. After 5 months this is considerably smoother with a noticable vanilla taste and a more bitter under tone, and after taste, from the wormwood.

* Vodka recipe 2
1 large leaf of wormwood (f)
1 inch liquorice
1 star anise
2 juniper berries
quarter tsp. ground nutmeg
quarter tsp. aniseed
pinch of ground cloves
half a litre of shirmnof black label
Another experimental one, again to half of the vodka the juniper berries star anise nutmeg and liquorice where added a week before the rest of the ingredients. However the juniper berries where removed just prior to adding the wormwood and other spices. This had a less noticable greenish tinge than the first recipe but was not as dark as the second. Initially the most bitter and harshest of the 3 recipes tried, this has adged well, and after 5 months now has a similair taste to commercial absinthe. Although still the "wrong" colour and not nearly as alcoholic.

Simple recipes

These are all made by very simply steeping a crushed leaf of wormwood in a quantity of the beverage of your choice. The amount of beverage and the amount of wormwood being a matter of taste. As I like a quite bitter taste I tended to use a largish leaf of fresh wormwood to about a quarter of a litre of whatever alchohol I was using. Alchohols I've tried and found to work so far are:

It's worth noting that whilst oil was released from the wormwood into the alcohol, and a noticable change in taste was detectable, the drinks did not (noticably) discolour.