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A Taste for Absinthe: 65 Recipes for Classic and Contemporary Cocktails Hardcover – September 21, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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About the Author

R. WINSTON GUTHRIE is an absinthe expert and the founder of www.AbsintheBuyersGuide.com, which is the premier source for information about the drink, including tips on what to buy and how to find accessories such as glasses and spoons. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.
JAMES F. THOMPSON is a New York-based writer and editor. In addition to extensive publishing work, he has been an English professor and a teacher aboard a navy destroyer performing operations in the Mediterranean.
Liza Gershman is an award-winning photographer and writer. Her work has been featured in many publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Candy, Outside Magazine, Napa Valley Life, Eater SF, and Beer Connoisseur.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Green Goddess
5 fresh basil leaves
1½ ounces Square One Cucumber Organic vodka
½ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce fresh lime juice
¼ ounce absinthe
1 sprig of fresh thyme 
Muddle the basil in a cocktail shaker until all the leaves are bruised. Add the vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, absinthe, and thyme sprig. Fill the shaker with ice and shake hard. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass. Shake the thyme sprig dry, then use it as a garnish. Serve.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307587533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307587534
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #453,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cale E. Reneau on October 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Growing up, absinthe, to me, was a drink shrouded in mystery, heresay, myths, and lies. As a young drinker, I would hear stories of people drinking it and hallucinating whilst having the time of their lives. Unfortunatelty for many, the actual hallucinogenic properties of absinthe are greatly exaggerated, if not entirely false. This is something I learned from reading the first few pages of A Taste for Absinthe. The author has a deep knowledge of the drink he loves, and his passion for the spirit drips from every word in this book. His descriptions of scents, colors, and the like are fun to read and make the reader excited to try the drink, either by itself, or in one of the many cocktails featured in the book.

I was excited to try out some of the recipes in the book, but I didn't want to do it alone. I spent a few hours looking over the book for the cocktails that sounded most-delicious to me, marked the pages, and set about inviting a bunch of friends over for my very first "Absinthe Party." We started with the classic "Absinthe Drip," which is just cold water dripped onto a sugar cube into 1 1/2 ounces of absinthe. You'll know after one sip whether absinthe is the drink for you. Featuring a heavy licorice flvor, the highly-alcoholic beverage can be a turn off for some. However, mixed into a cocktail, it becomes more widely-enjoyable. My favorite cocktail of the night was the surprisingly simple, Brunelle, which is just a combination of absinthe, lemon juice, and sugar. Delicious!!

This book is incredibly helpful for anyone looking to take their first step into the world of absinthe. It is filled with trivia, backstories, myths, quotes, and tips on purchasing the best bottle of absinthe possible.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Absinthe. The mere whisper of the word evokes a bygone era, a Belle Epoque/Art Nouveau atmosphere of floating dresses and cigarette-holders and opulence and dissipation.

Although absinthe is once again legal in the United States, it retains a captivating aura of mystery. My closest brushes with the beverage before receiving this book were glimpses of period art and sips of ouzo and raki, all of which made me only more curious about absinthe and more acutely aware of how little I knew about buying or preparing it.

A Taste for Absinthe pays homage to the Green Fairy with a thoughtful mélange of history, images and recipes (more on these, below). From typography to page design to beverage images, the book is meant to be savored by the eye. The body of the book and the buying guide at the end describe various distilling methods and characteristics of different types of absinthe for those who want to understand traditional distillations and distinguish among attributes across brands.

Top-drawer absinthe, quite frankly, is pricey, and can be difficult to come by, but that's a story for another day. Especially after I factored in the value of the other specialty ingredients that are called for in a number of the recipes in this book, I decided to focus on quality rather than quantity. As such, it has been a slow process to prepare and sample the various libations contained within the covers of this book, and I have focused on the recipes where absinthe is the star.

One could view the esoteric ingredients called for by many of the recipes as a chance for further adventure and/or a mental savoring, similar to the most complicated recipes in a gourmet cookbook, meant to be understood and ordered when dining out. However, the subtitle positions this as a book of recipes, so I would have preferred a few more recipes that did not specify uncommon ingredients.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
R. Winston Guthrie and James F. Thompson, A Taste for Absinthe: 65 Recipes for Classic and Contemporary Cocktails (Clarkson Potter, 2010)

That such a thing as an absinthe recipe book even exists is cause to rejoice. It was not all that many years ago (certainly less than ten) that a number of my friends and I were all twitterpated when a pal of ours got back from Czechoslovakia with a liter of the good stuff. (Okay, not the good stuff at all, but beggars, choosers, etc.) Fast-forward to 2010, and thanks to the generosity of another friend, my liquor cabinet has at least three different domestically-available brands. A beautiful thing, indeed, but one gets tired of ice water and sugar cubes. What else can you do with absinthe? A good deal, as it turns out, and as Guthrie and Thompson hope to illustrate in this volume. And quite a good job they do.

I've been reading break-baking books for my cookbook quotient the past couple of months, and I'm used to repetition, with very little variation on the theme from recipe to recipe. So I may be a bit more sensitive to variety than most coming to this book will be, but I was kind of bowled over (in a good way) by the sheer variety of ways you can treat with anise and wormwood. Haven't had a chance to do extensive testing yet (an out-of-town colleague made me promise I'd wait until he was over. I don't expect our wives will see us for days), but what little I've sampled has been something of a revelation in the uses of licorice-based liqueurs. And before I started drinking absinthe legally, I've been a lifelong (since drinking age, naturally, ahem) fan of Pernod, Galliano, Sambuca, and their various licorice-y cousins. But there are combinations here I would never have thought of, and that impresses me.
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