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New Absinthe Made in Vancouver

New Absinthe Made in Vancouver

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Now that the worldwide stigma against the 'Green Fairy' is over, where to find new absinthe

While Americans are embracing the lift of the absinthe ban, Canadians are jumping on board, too. Now, a Vancouver-based spirits company is releasing a new absinthe to meet the demand for classic cocktails made with the "green fairy." The newest spirit from Pemberton Distillery, The Devil’s Club Organic Absinthe is made with 13 different botanical from local, organic farms. That includes hops, Oregon grapes, hemp seeds, and Devil’s Club root bark (the "root" of the absinthe's name). Said Tyler Schramm to the Vancouver Sun, “As with all our spirits, our goal with the absinthe is to create a classic yet unique and modern spirit that can be enjoyed on its own terms ... Most of our customers are wary to try the absinthe and then discover they absolutely love it.” The Devil's Club Organic Absinthe will be joining the ranks of one very popular Vancouver absinthe: the Taboo absinthe from Okanagan Spirits. That, and the newest Pemberton Distillery absinthe, will keep fighting against the "green fairy" myth. "“It’s one of those products where the myth has taken over,” said Rodney Goodchild, the marketing and operations director for Okanagan Spirits, which produces Taboo absinthe, to the Vancouver Sun. “People’s understanding of absinthe is so wrong.”

10 of the Best Absinthe Drinks with Recipes

Like we know, Absinthe is an extremely strong anise-flavored beverage with a high alcohol percentage, and with a bitter taste. Seldom is it drunk straight-up like scotch or brandy. Correct proportion and right combination is the key to enjoy this drink safely and in style. Here are a few informative and exclusive ways to drink absinthe.

10 of the Best Absinthe Drinks with Recipes

St. George Absinthe Verte

St. George Spirits arrived early to the party when the U.S. lifted the ban on absinthe in 2007, bringing the nation its first legal absinthe. This antique-looking bottle is a great addition to any home bar, because, in addition to being delicious and authentic, it comes in a 200ml bottle, making it great for adding to cocktails a spoonful at a time without committing to lugging it between your next four apartments.



The Empiric Gin is centered around the merger of classic botanicals such as Juniper and coriander along side west coast staples such as hops, rosemary lavender and the unique addition of lemon verbena imparting the gin's citrus tones. Epically floral yet well balanced.

Name and packaging are inspired from the historical 'Empiric Death Doctors’ noted to have worn beak-like masks stuffed with aromatic botanicals and said to have used various Juniper based tinctures to ward off such ailments as the plague. Their practices are thought to be one of the early origin myths of Gin itself.


Baba Yaga Genuine Absinthe is distilled traditionally with grand wormwood, anise, fennel, lemon balm, and mint. Blended to 60%Abv the finished spirit is then rested and steeped in more herbs and botanicals yielding it's natural green/ chartreuse colour. (BabaYaga Absinthe is naturally coloured and therefore a natural chlorophyl precipitate may occur in bottle over time)

Prepare by pouring over ice or blending drop wise slowly with ice cold water to release its herbal oils and develop an opal cloud ('louche').

TASTING NOTES: Prominent sweet black liquorice, with herbal notes alongside light citrus and mint.

BEST ENJOYED: over ice (often as a digestif), paired with sparkling wine (aka 'Death in the Afternoon') or in cocktails to lend anise tones with a 'rinse'

Small-batch copper pot distilled spirit from 100% BC grown and malted barley yielding a rich viscous and smooth vodka with undertones of toast, chocolate & caramel. Distilled with European style techniques to highlight the basic characteristic of the grain (opposed to Western Style) .

Doug Stephen of the Merchant&rsquos Workshop decided to make a monster of a cocktail. His Baijiu Kaiju plays with some Pacific-Rim flavours for an intense, layered drink, which jumps from refreshing to powerful and back again between sips. The Baijiu definitely plays the bass note in this drink, but using it as a boozy foundation was part of the plan: &ldquoBaijiu doesn&rsquot need to be as scary of an ingredient as people think,&rdquo says Stephen.

Bar Spoon of Islay scotch (McClellands Islay is a good, budget-friendly option) 1 oz Dragon Mist Baijiu ½ oz Pierre Ferrand dry curacao ⅙ oz green chartreuse 1 oz lime juice ½ oz gunpowder green tea syrup* 2 dashes Apothecary smokey pear bitters

  1. Rinse glass with Islay scotch.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  3. Shake and serve garnish with lime wheel.

*For the gunpowder green tea syrup, combine roughly equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil and add one teaspoon of gunpowder green tea. Let steep until cool, strain and refrigerate.

From Absinthe to Vodka: 5 Fantastic B.C. Spirits

Didn&rsquot make it to the first-ever BC Distilled Festival? Seventeen of B.C.&rsquos micro-distilleries (plus Yukon Shine from our our neighbour territory to the north) served up samples of spirits and liqueurs from absinthe and aquavit to vodka and white whiskey, plus plenty of my fave: gin. Only the truly tenacious could have tasted everything, but here are five standouts from the event.

Okanagan Spirits - Absinthe

Okanagan Spirits was Canada&rsquos first distillery to bottle absinthe, the mysterious green spirit whose key ingredient &ndash wormwood &ndash was said to cause hallucinations. Actually, the high-proof (60 per cent) anise-flavoured liquor, which is bottled under the apt name, Taboo, is more likely to have medicinal qualities because of its botanicals such as sweet fennel and lemon balm.

B.C. Ingredients: A spirit base made from fruit, not grain.
Pedigree: Absinthe was first distilled in Switzerland Taboo absinthe is distilled in Vernon and Kelowna.
Protocol: Add two parts of ice-cold water to one part absinthe (remember, it&rsquos 60 per cent alcohol) and watch the louche (cloudiness) form. Do you see the green fairy? Sip slowly and contemplate whether overindulging in absinthe really caused Vincent van Gogh to lop off his own ear.

Sons of Vancouver - Amaretto

With a name like Sons of Vancouver, you might expect a little anarchy from the North Vancouver distillery (which officially opens this fall), but it&rsquos actually creating a stir with its amaretto. (OK, they also have an ass-kicking spicy vodka.) Did you know that nary a nut goes into making this bittersweet almond-y tasting liqueur? It&rsquos a deliciously unexpected addition to the B.C. booze market.

B.C. Ingredients: The vodka base spirit is made with Fraser Valley grain it&rsquos flavoured with Okanagan apricots and sweetened with northern honey.
Pedigree: Originally from Italy SOV&rsquos amaretto is distilled in North Vancouver.
Protocol: Mix the amaretto in a Benzooka cocktail, says Son&rsquos James Lester, making oblique references to The Big Lebowski and White Russians. Shake together, with ice, 2 oz. amaretto, 2 oz. orange juice, 1 oz. soy milk. Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass garnish with an orange twist.

&ldquoWhat makes this drink unique and perfect for summer is that it gets its consistency from soy milk, which doesn&rsquot curdle like cream when mixed with OJ,&rdquo says Lester. Drink a few and you&rsquoll soon notice that your rug &ldquoreally ties the room together.&rdquo

Odd Society Spirits - Créme de Cassis

Créme de Cassis already sound highbrow and the black currant liqueur crafted by Odd Society Spirits even has some royal roots. The limited edition run is distilled to the secret specs of chef Hervé Martin, owner of The French Table in Vancouver and formerly personal chef to Belgium&rsquos late King. It&rsquos no surprise the luxurious liqueur was voted Best in Show at the B.C. Distilled Festival. So dash out to Odd Society&rsquos tasting lounge and buy a bottle toute de suite!

B.C. Ingredients: Black currants
Pedigree: Originally from France Odd Spirits Society&rsquos Créme de Cassis is distilled in East Vancouver, B.C.
Protocol: Drink on its own as an aperitif or digestif, or mix in a 1:4 ratio of Créme de Cassis to white wine to make a classic Kir. Or drizzle over vanilla ice cream for a to-die-for dessert.

SR Winery & Distillery - MaQ Vodka

Learning Korean can be a daunting task, but drinking a little MaQ soju &ndash Korean vodka &ndash from SR Winery & Distillery is an excellent primer. &ldquoMaQ&rdquo is the word for barley, the key ingredient in the single-distilled soju, which literally translates to &ldquoburned liquor.&rdquo While most distillers vary their vodkas with flavouring, SR produces four percentages of soju &ndash 18%, 23%, 34%, 41% &ndash for its diverse clientele. The lowest, 18%, is geared to the traditional Korean market and the higher percentage spirits are ideal for mixing in cocktails.

But is it (real) absinthe?

A lot has changed since absinthe was banned in the beginning of the 20th century. In Europe, the Green Fairy flies freely again following recent re-legalization, and there are some excellent absinthes to be had.

Unfortunately, absinthe-thirsty Americans are not so lucky yet. Although the US authorities have now permitted the use of the term "absinthe" on bottle labels (subject to approval and conditions), all "absinthes" sold in the US must test thujone-free. But once you remove thujone&mdashthe natural essential oil of the Artemisia plant&mdashit's no longer absinthe it's just a green drink that will get you drunk fast, but no effect beyond that.

As someone who has drunk absinthe since 1997, I am very disappointed &ndash because as long as these absinthe-like imitations continue to plague U.S. liquor stores, posing as the genuine article, there will be no pressure on the US authorities to relent and allow real European absinthes into America's stores and bars. Essentially, the FDA/TTB policies have done absolutely nothing for America's absintheurs they have just opened doors to producers with a buck on their mind and green-colored vodkas to sell.

I want to take this opportunity to recommend the Buy Absinthe guide, which aims to be a no-nonsense resource for newcomers and seasoned absinthe drinkers alike. Though still quite new, the guide is already packed with useful tips that any absinthe buyer will appreciate. I've known the writer for years and I can confirm his opinions are well worth listening to.


  • 2 ½ oz Cognac or Rye
  • Absinthe or Herbsaint to wash the glass
  • One sugar cube
  • Two dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set it aside.

Stir (do not shake!) the remaining ingredients over ice and set it aside. Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the Lemon peel for garnish.

Cascadia Classic Caesar


  • 2 oz Tofino Distillery Jalapeño Vodka
  • 5 oz Walter Craft Caesar Mix
  • 1 dash Tobasco Sauce
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salami, cherry tomato, bocconcini, jalapeño,and sprigs of thyme to garnish
  • Optional* 2 tbsp Parsley and Jalapeño Mignonette (see below)


Prepare jalapeno and cilantro mignonette ahead of time. Add ice to a tall glass. Pour Tofino Distillery Jalapeno Vodka over ice. Add lime juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Fill glass with Walter’s Caesar Mix. Stir to mix. Spoon mignonette over the top. Garnish and serve.

Absinthe Drip

The "absinthe drip" is very similar to the traditional ritual, though it adds ice and club soda to soften the drink a bit more. You also don't need a special spoon or glass common bar tools work just fine.

In a mixing glass half-filled with crushed ice, pour 1 ounce of absinthe.

Place a sugar cube on top of the ice.

Very slowly drip cold club soda onto the sugar cube until it is completely dissolved.

Stir well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Watch the video: Absinthe, Thujone, u0026 Artemisia absinthium: What You Need To Know (October 2022).