About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Homemade Absinthe

The first time I tasted Absinthe, a friend was passing round a bottle of it at a party. We all hated it. Since then, however, I've learned that the traditional way of serving it includes sugar and water, which would probably make quite a big difference (note that stuffing jelly beans into the bottle does not improve the flavour).

When I discovered that the plant I'd previously identified as mugwort is in fact wormwood (I really should get better at identifying plants before eating them!) I wondered whether it might be worth having another go at Absinthe. This idle thought was reinforced when I looked up other herbs included in the drink, which include fennel and anise. I don't have any anise, but I did have a bottle of a light, sweet, fizzy drink flavoured with Alexanders (very nice on its own, incidentally), which has an aniseed-like flavour. I also had fennel in the garden, as well as lemon balm (melissa), another of the herbs mentioned, and vodka in the fridge.

By way of experiment, I put some wormwood, fennel and lemon balm in a jar, covered with vodka, and left it to steep. After a few days, it turned a fabulous bright green, but then oxidised to more of an amber colour. Not unappetising, but it was a shame to lose the green.

Still green at the bottom of the jar, already amber at top.

I mixed a little of the infused vodka with the Alexanders drink, and it was really nice. The balance of sweet to bitter was just right. Consequently, that experimental sample has long since gone.

If I make it again, and I probably will, I might try putting all of the herbs into the vodka together, then adding the sugar and water on serving, in the traditional way. Of course, infused vodka isn't really Absinthe, as the herbs were originally introduced before the final distillation. Since I'm not going to get into distillation, I'll stick with infusion. I end up with a strong alcoholic drink flavoured with (some of) the right herbs. If I take more care to exclude air, I might even end up with something the right colour, too.


  1. Swap you some Anise Hyssop seeds for a couple of your honesty seeds?! :D x

    1. You might have a deal, there! I'll have to check to see whether there are any more seeds, as I've planted all the ones I collected.

  2. Excellent! more than happy to send some up regardless!


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