|How Absinthe Is Made IV - Coloration
|Part three of a step-by-step account of the making of absinthe, based on an actual distillation at the historic
Emile Pernot distillery in Pontarlier.
The coloration process is critical not just to how the finished absinthe will look, but also to how it will taste.
Herb quality is especially important here, as the best results can ony be obtained with perfect source material.
Coloration is accomplished by straight maceration. A percentage of the clear distillate - usually less than half - is
poured back into the now clean alambic pot, and the colouring herbs - typically petite absinthe (artemisia pontica),
hyssop and melissa - are added. They can be added loose, as shown here, or in a porous burlap sack (or
"tea-bag") which makes filtration afterwards easier. The alambic is then sealed, and heated until the surface of the
chapiteau becomes too hot to comfortably touch - about 55 degrees celsius. Then the mixture is allowed to cool,
before being removed and filtered.
The traditional method of filtration shown here involves pouring the
coloured liquid into a conical copper vessel lined with a horsehair filter.
The filtered liquid - which should now be bright and clean - is collected
at the bottom.
|The coloured spirit is tested and evaluated, before being mixed back with the remaining clear spirit, to make the final product.
The intense emerald-green colour will fade slightly in the first few weeks of ageing.
|The final tests: water is added to evaluate the quality of the louche and the colour of the diluted
drink...and the distillery master gives it his seal of approval.
The absinthe will now be aged for (at least) several months (which also allows any remaining
sediment to settle), before being bottled and released.
|Move cursor over the link bars to see contents.
|Some of the pictures on this page used by kind permission of Damian Hevia.Unauthorised reproduction strictly prohibited.
This website and all its contents Copyright 2002- 2007 Oxygenee Ltd.
No pictures or text may be reproduced or used in any form without written permission of the site owner.