Citation: Pervitron. "Home Preparation, Good Results: An Experience with Absinthe (exp53785)". Erowid.org. Feb 7, 2007. erowid.org/exp/53785
My experience with psycho-altering drugs has always been one of fun experimentation. I have a science background, with quite a bit of excitement when trying something for the first time if I have prepared and done my research.
I had always wanted to try absinthe, and on a few occaisions had the opportunity to get a very small amount through friends. It was never enough to get a full feeling out of the thujone/wormwood world that I have heard about. Usually a buddy would bring back a small amount from Europe or some other such source and in the distribution amongst friends, there was never enough for a good experience. With this in mind, I set out to apply some of my need for experimentation and decided to make my own from available sources over a two month period in the summer of 2003. I had graduated and was living in a house with some cool room mates who wouldn't mind if I tried some wacky preparations, so I set out to distill the green fairy.
I appropriated a set of glassware from various sources and was able to borrow a nice glass distillation column from my laboratory. With a home built still, capable of processing 1L at a time, I felt I was ready to start. It is strightforward but having the right setup is crucial to a good experience. My unit was water cooled, had a condensation unit built out of copper, and was stove-top operated.
In order to make the absinthe, I purchased a pound or so of wormwood from online sources and assembled the remainder of the herbal ingredients from local stores. Most everything you need aside from the wormwood is at your local grocery store. In order to remove the valuable essence of thujone from the wormwood, I first decided to purchase a fifth of 151 from the local liquor store. I steeped the liquor with a good amount of wormwood and sundry herbs in my closet for a week, shaking it twice a day to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
For the exact recipe, see the available online recipes. Over the course of the summer, I did this several times and made many batches using different base alcohols as my starting point. These included other hard alcohol sources and even port. They all lend a different finished product, but for the most part bacardi 151 is where it is at for maximum product. The volume of final product will be very high, and as the goal is to remove the active thujone from the wormwood bitters through ditillation, it is best in my experience to just put it in the stongest stuff you can find to produce more final product. Everclear would be even better.
After steeping in my closet, the mixture had turned a brownish green color. I transferred and filtered it into my stovetop still and cranked it up to operating temperature. The goal of this process is to bring off the thujone, which will boil off as a fraction early in the distillation leaving behind the undesirable bitter poisons in the still flask. This process is tuff to perfect, the temperatures need to be right and the process may take time to iron out. Suffice it to say, I got good at running my setup and could produce about 500ml of very high proof liquid from the original fifth of 151 used in the production of the steeped wormwood mix. This is dangerous to perform on an open flame, I advise against any source of fire coming within ten feet of this stuff. My final thujone/151 distillate was likely around 190 proof when the distillation was complete.
Preparing the drink is easy. It is nearly clear, pure alcohol, so it must be diluted to drink. My method of choice was about 2oz in a high ball glass full of ice with about 2 parts water added on top. The best part of this step is that if you have the real absinthe in your glass, all of the dissolved a-thujone and anise extract will precipitate out of solution when water is added creating a beautiful and strange opulescent creamy liquid. It looks like liquid pearl. The taste is not offensive, but I wouldn't call it a sipping drink. Strong licorice flavors from the anise and a hint of somthing else (the wormwood extracts). Mint is a useful addition to this drink.
Over the summer I made about 8 batches and shared them with friends. The results were interesting and varied from person to person. I would describe the earliest phases of the experience as feeling initially like a standard booze buzz, but as you get more drunk something definitely changes. My friends and I all agree, this stuff is special sauce! As you get more and more of the majic fairy (maybe 4 shots of the original mix is enough to get completely blitzed) the change from simple drunk happens.
Auditory hallucinations abound, clarity remains strong and the ability to converse increases. I felt like I could talk all night and have the most stimulating conversations while on absinthe. I'm sure that to outside observers it looks like a drunk buzz, but it is different. I never experienced strong visuals while on my preparations, but others who drank it reported on some bizarre effects including light related flashes or sensitivity to sound. All in all, it was very fun and a good learning experience. The effort to make the product was at first stimulating, but I grew tired of it and moved on. I'd recomend absinthe, I have no ill feelings or aftereffects to speak of.
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