Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Crave - Absinthe House, Jim Thorpe, PA
In addition to serving Afternoon Tea, Crave is also an "Absinthe House". Absinthe is primarily made with the herb wormwood (Artemesia absinthium). Green Anise Seeds, Star Anise and Fennel, all of which have a black licorice flavor, are also commonly used to make absinthe. I have seen other herbs used such as coriander, cardamon, caraway, angelica, and hyssop.
The menu provided a bit about the history of absinthe and what was legal in 19th Century France and what is now allowed to be served in France and in the US. As you can see we had a choice of six different absinthe's made in the US, France or Switzerland and ranging from 100 proof to 136 proof. We chose two different, Herbsaint and Grande Absente, to share amongst our group. Called the "Green Fairy" because of its color, Absinthe is a "spirit" meaning it is served without the addition of sugar or diluted as a liqueur might be. It is at the table where you add the ice water and sugar.
We were given instructions to use the absinthe spoon to hold the sugar cube in place and drip the cold water over the sugar until it dissolves. Next we added about 2 oz of water and tasted it to see if we needed more sugar and water, or not.
Joining the ranks of many who have gone before us, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley and Ernest Hemmingway, we all sipped the absinthe, which is considered a "bitter" and a perfect aperitif for after eating, as bitters aid your digestion. The consensus at our table was it tasted like liquid black jelly beans, with a kick.