Producing Absinthe in Georgia
When I was staying in Georgia running mountain bike tours in 2015, in between work, a French friend, Vincent, who makes alcohol invited me to collect the plant that is used to make absinthe. We drove out onto the plains of Georgia to pick “Artemisia absinthium”, commonly known as Wormwood.
Wormwood herb contains bitter substances and a volatile compound called thujone. In popular culture the spirit, Absinthe, made using the plant (and other ingredients - anise and fennel) has some notoriety for making drinkers hallucinate however, a couple of source say this is not likely and more down to alcohol abuse.
Wormwood plants were then hung up to dry for a month.
In the roof rafters of this big house in Garikula.
The drink is served in a traditional way with mineral water poured through a sugar cube balanced on a special spoon.
Handling the plant throughout the day induced a mild psychoactive state although it could have been partly down to sunstroke. Nevertheless, the wormwood plant has a strong, oily, pungent smell and a strange light grey-green colour which is very distinct. Perhaps it is just the stories around the plant that had seduced me but I definitely felt I could understand some of the fascination. The resultant spirit has a dark grey-green colour and is exceptionally strong. When mixed with water, as intended, it clouds up. I am a fan of spirits like Greek Raki, Cypriot Ouzo and French Pernod but I preferred this home made stuff because of the effort we had put in to make it.
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