Archive for Drinkboy

Absinthe In One Hand…Now What?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , on February 15, 2009 by alcohology


(This post is actually the second in the series, the first beingA Lesson In Absinthe”  If you have not read that post yet, I would humbly ask that you click that link first.  Thankee.)

So, you now have this absinthe in front of you.  You went to the store, or perhaps went online to find your absinthe and had it shipped to you.  Maybe a friend brought you a bottle because they know that you like interesting spirits…but the outcome is the same:  There is it.  What in the world does one DO with it?

Well,… First of all, you of course can make a Sazerac Cocktail.  That’s a good idea.  At least then, with your Sazerac as company you will have time to leisurely contemplate your absinthe and decide what in the world to do with the rest of the bottle.

Here – assuming that you have some other ingredients on hand is the Sazerac Cocktail:

  • 2oz Rye Whiskey
  • .25oz Absinthe
  • .25oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters

I’ll let the experts describe this one:

Coat chilled old fashioned glass with Absinthe substitute (Herbsaint, Pernod…). Pour out most of what remains, perhaps leaving a small puddle in the bottom of the glass. Add bitters and syrup. You can use a single sugar cube instead of simple syrup, in which case you would now muddle this to dissolve. Add Whiskey.

Those instructions come courtesy of Drinkboy himself – Robert Hess, my appeal to authority in this case.  And, if you don’t believe me, well…this video of Mr. Drinkboy hisself will transport you to proof positive.

OK.  Well?  What in the world should you do with the Absinthe now?  You have made a Saz, but that is really not enough.  This is absinthe after all.  This is the liquid of legend – the muse to the arts.

To do this correctly – and by ‘do this’, I mean – to make absinthe of course, you’ll need a few things.  If Toulouse Lautrec can do it, then by all means so should and can you.

But, you’ll need a these few things:

  1. The Absinthe is at arm’s length, so you have the most important part achieved.
  2. You will need a glass – an Absinthe glass if possible
  3. You will need an Absinthe spoon, if possible.
  4. You will need a sugar cube, no doubt.
  5. You will need an Absinthe Fountain, of course.


The rest is exactly as you imagine it:  Pour about an ounce and a half of absinthe in the glass, add spoon to sit on the glass and the sugar cube to spoon and move glass underneath the absinth fountain’s spigot, positioned perfectly as to allow the water from the fountain to drip directly on the sugar cube.  Of course, I am assuming that you have filled or will fill your absinthe fountain up with lots of ice and water in order to allow for that water to drip on the sugar cube.  So – with that assumption behind us – slowly open up the spigot and drip that water on to the sugar cube and through the spoon, dripping about one drip per second.  At this rate, the water will act as solvent, and the sugar cube will break apart and drip into the absinthe.

Here’s the cool part:  The absinthe will become cloudy, it will become opaque…as if by magic.  The magic of chemistry.  What happens is that the cold water will act upon the oil of the anise in the absinthe and will cause what is called ‘louching’, pronounced “luːʃ-ing”, or “lo͞oshing”.    This is because the oil is soluable in alcohol – louch_1but not water.  So, with the addition of water – especially cold water – the oil separates from the mixture in a manner that creates the louching, and if you watch it closely, carefully – it’s quite beautiful, actually.

Now, there’s a lot of debate about how much water to put in the glass.  Some say 3 – 1, some enjoy 5 -1, but this is really a taster’s choice moment for you.  I’d say start at 3 – 1 and stop the drippity-drop from the fountain at this point.  This is when you will find that the ‘spoon’ part of the absinthe spoon will come in handy:  Stir up that absinthe and keep stirring until as few sugar granules are easily seen as possible.  Now, put the absinthe spoon to the side and take a taste.

What do you think?

Next:  What different Absinthes are out there?

(Sadly, my computer pretty much died, so I have not been able to finish this post, but will in the near future…)

The Washington State Bartender’s Guild.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2008 by alcohology

I didn’t even know Keith Waldbauer about two and a half months ago.

Andrew Borher is a great bartender who used to tend bar just a block south of me down at 22 Doors, and he and I were on our way towards starting a guild.  Andrew looks like a bartender.  He looks like a guy that you can trust with some spirits and a glass, no doubt.  The goetee, the vest, the patience and charm.  By nature or nurture, I’m not sure which.

In any case, he and I discussed it a bit and then luckily, we were hooked up with Keith.  Keith also has his head and hands around bartending.  He’d been at Union as the head bartender there for three years, and now Barrio has wisely asked him to come over there, and what is Seattle’s downtown’s loss is Capitol Hill’s 12th Avenue’s gain.  For months, Keith had also been thinking about doing something about this urge that he similarly had in starting a group for bartenders.

The memory of  how we all go together will have to be left to someone with a better memory than I, but we did end up getting together and the accumulation of bartenders formed the foundation of the Guild.  There were a number of bartenders at those first meetings.  There were the Sun Liquor guys, Erik, Wil and Kevin.  There was Jamie Boudreau and the Vessel stalwarts, Jim and Zane and of course Anu.  Eric from Zig Zag came by, and luckily someone told David Nelson of Spur.  Actually, the list goes on and on, with such dedicated cocktail evangelists such as Robert ‘Drinkboy’ Hess and Paul Clark.

Now – there are a few things that we learned as we went through this.  We learned about the United States Bartender’s Guild, and we learned about the few independent guilds that have been set up around the country.  And, being the Seattlites as we are, we of course didn’t think much about joining a national guild.  In fact, the very hard-working Daniel Shoemaker of Portland’s uber-bar Teardrop was nice enough to give us a copy of his Guild’s Charter, and Keith and I enjoyed editing it to our ends.  Next thing you know, we’re having our Inaugeral Kickoff Bash for the WSBG at Zane and Anu’s amazing pad, and around 100 people came by to celebrate.

Since then, we’ve been working on the website, we’ve been working on our membership outreach, we’ve been working on bringing new spirits into Washington State…….we’ve been busy.  The real promise of the WSBG is to allow a forum for bartenders, friends, our suppliers and such to have a place to meet to discuss cocktails, spirits wine and beer.

Seattle is an intereting place – just ask all the tourists.  We’re rainy as hell as people say and we’re often rightly accused of being superior in attitude.  We can’t help it.  We’re known for our flying fish in rivers and markets, just as we’re known for great music and bad art.  Now – we’re going to be known for our drinks.  We’re going to join the list of great bar cities such as San Francisco, New York and New Orleans.  We’re already there, but…most people don’t know it.  But, just you wait.  You heard it here first.

See you at that bar.