Today is National Absinthe Day;
Often mistaken for a liqueur, it is truly a spirit because it isn’t sweetened. It belongs to the vodkas, gins, and whiskeys when categorizing absinthe.
The spirit is made by infusing wormwood, fennel, anise, and other herbs into alcohol through distillation. Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor, is credited with the creation of absinthe. He developed and prescribed the elixir in the early 19th century as a cure for many illnesses.
It has a strong licorice flavor to it and has a high alcohol content. The spirit is often served with ice, a sugar cube placed on a slotted spoon over the glass, and water poured over the sugar.
Also known as the Green Fairy, the Green Goddess, or the Green Lady, the drink was popular with artists and writers. It was also once rumored to have hallucinogenic effects. Just as it was gaining popularity, as the century was coming to a close, its reputation took some severe blows.
Many blamed the Green Lady for causing madness, seizures, and low morality, among other ills of society. One of the final blows was a scandal in 1905 involving a French laborer who had spent the day drinking. His drink of choice was absinthe. Later that day, he murdered his children and pregnant wife.
France banned the drink, and other countries soon followed. In the United States and around the world, the ban has since been lifted.
Studies have proven there is nothing hallucinogenic about the drink. Absinthe does have a higher alcohol content than other spirits, so keeping that in mind is important to drink responsibly.
Today in History:In 1946, Winston Churchill gave his “Iron Curtain” speech, that’s about the USSR, it’s creation of the Eastern Bloc, and the division it will cause to Europe because of it, in Fulton, Missouri.
Lagniappe: Everyone should have a go-to sangria recipe in his or her cocktail repertoire. Sangria, when done right, can be a highly refreshing punch that is at home any time of the year.
Sangria can be enjoyed on its own and sipped on a lazy, sunny afternoon, or paired with a delicious meal. Sangria recipes also can be changed according to the mixologist’s desired flavor profile. The goal is to avoid making sangria too sweet, which is why recipes often benefit from a variety of tart fruits and fresh herbs.
This recipe for “Aprium® Sangria” from “Edible Seattle: The Cookbook” (Sterling Epicure) by Jill Lightner features sour cherries and Apriums®, which are an apricot-plum hybrid. Apriums come in various colors and flavors. This sangria offers floral notes and sweetness, but also a touch of tartness from the cherries. When selecting a Sauvignon Blanc to mix in, opt for one that is not too sweet or acidic.
3/4 cup pitted sour cherries
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups vodka
8 apriums or plumcots peeled, pitted and diced
1 (750 ml) bottle Sauvignon Blanc
3 12 ounce bottles dry cucumber soda
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cherries and sugar, stirring and pressing the fruit to extract the juice and dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat as soon as all the sugar is dissolved and let cool. Combine the cherries and vodka in a small pitcher and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, strain out the cherries, pressing the fruit firmly to extract plenty of juice. In a large pitcher, gently blend the cherry-flavored vodka with the apriums, then slowly pour in the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, stirring gently. Chill for at least 3 hours.
- To serve, add a few ice cubes to a highball glass and fill the glass two-thirds of the way with sangria, using a spoon if necessary to make sure each glass has a generous serving of fruit. Top up with dry cucumber soda and gently stir to combine.