As Summer draws to a close and we head into Fall, the OC Bartender’s Cabinet continues on!
Our October meeting will be Monday, October 3rd, at 7pm with Nolet’s Gin at the Nolet
North American Headquarters/Carl Nolet Sr. Hospitality Center, (30 Journey, Aliso Viejo
92656). In addition to tasting and learning about this fantastic spirit, we will be having another
friendly MIX-OFF!! Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org and note if you would like
to either compete or judge. We will have about 12 spots open for competitors & 5 spots open
for judging and you will be notified in advance by e-mail if you get either position.
Bartender’s Cabinet is dedicated to educating bartenders and enthusiasts about great spirits
and quality ingredients. We also focus on having a good time through interacting with those
who share an enthusiasm for tasty beverages that come from fine spirits and fresh ingredients.
Bartender’s Cabinet meets monthly at various cocktail bars in Orange County.
Contact email@example.com regarding membership.
In September we had a fantastic meeting – our best-attended yet – at Charlie Palmer in
Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Our illustrious sponsor, Pernod Ricard, provided us with a
very well-done presentation on the origin, evolution, and history of Absinthe and how the
Pernod brand played its role in all of that.
Absinthe, of course, is best known for being made from wormwood and being made illegal due
to its hallucinogenic properties. Granted, only the wormwood part is true.
The spirit, absinthe, is a high-proof alcohol that is created by distilling neutral spirits to a very
high proof and then macerating various herbs into the spirit. These herbs are generally a
collection of anise, wormwood, and sweet fennel.
Pernod first began distilling absinthe in 1797 as the joint venture of Major Dubied and his son,
Marcellin, and his son-in-law, Henry-Louis Pernod in the Swiss town of Couvet. The company,
Maison Pernod Fils, was created in 1805 when the group opened its second distillery in
Of course, what absinthe is best-known for is its reputation as a dangerous and addictive
psychoactive drug used by artists and philosophers in the late 19th Century. This reputation is
unfair as absinthe – beyond its high alcohol content – has none of these properties (as Pernod
pointed out, perhaps the opium being used in conjunction with the absinthe at the time may
have had a smidge to do with the hallucinating).The actual reasons behind the eventual outlawing of absinthe in almost all of the West had more to do with wine than it did with the thujone (the chemical blamed for absinthe’s
supposed hallucinogenic qualities).
During the mid-1800’s the French wine industry was set upon by the Great French Wine Blight
– a catastrophic loss of entire vineyards due to phylloxera (a species of aphid native to North
America). Due to the sudden shortage of wine (and the tastiness of the new spirit), absinthe
was able to fill the new gap for alcohol consumption.
When the wine industry in France was finally able to recover, however, it was unable to resume
what it felt was its rightful place as the daily tipple of French people. This led to heavy
marketing and political campaigns from French wine producers about the supposed dangers of
absinthe. Add in a touch of Jean Lanfray – an alcoholic who spent an entire day drinking
absinthe, brandy, wine, and probably anything else with an ABV above 0% – killing his family,
and the French government had all it needed to outlaw the obviously dangerous spirit. Soon
other countries in the West followed suit.
In the US absinthe remained illegal until the 1970’s when the FDA amended its regulations
forbidding the importation and sale of alcoholic beverages containing wormwood. Of course,
most people didn’t realize that this modification to the rules allowed the importation and sale
of absinthe in the US until 2007!
For our evening with Pernod Ricard, Gabrielle Dion from Charlie Palmer (and OCBC board
member) made a delicious absinthe punch based on The Green Beast, an amazing cocktail
featuring absinthe and beet juice as well as Charles Vexenat’s Absinthe Coffee Flip.
The Tasty Beverages:
The Green Beast (Modified)
By: Charles Vexenat/Gabrielle Dion
1 part Pernod Absinthe
1 part Pineapple Syrup
1 part Lime Juice
4 parts Cucumber Water
Heart Skips a Beet (Gabrielle Dion)
1 oz Pernod Absinthe
0.5 oz Water
0.25 oz Fresh Beet Juice
0.5 oz Lime Juice
.025 oz Simple Syrup
2 Cucumber Wheels
Good Pinch Tarragon
Muddle Cucumber and Tarragon, add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain
over fresh ice. Garnish with smacked sprig of tarragon.
Absinthe Coffee Flip (Charles Vexenat)
1 oz Pernod Absinthe
1 oz Simple syrup
1 oz Milk
1 oz Espresso
1 Egg yolk
Combine ingredients, add ice, shake vigorously. Double strain into a cordial glass and garnish