Tag Archives: Tradition

Blog Post

16

Dec

2014

The Hapsburg Louche is coming at you!

 

The Hapsburg Louche is coming at you!

Absinthe, in the bottle, is usually a clear, or more often a yellowy green liquid. In recent years, it has become the fashion to offer in various other colours including black, red, blue etc. One of the things that make Hapsburg Absinthe products really unique is that it produces these colours in delicious flavours such as Black Fruits of the Forest, Red Summer Fruits and Blue Cassis.
What is so distinctive about this family of drinks is that when diluting the spirit with water, the liquid separates into an emulsion, and the dissolved particles come out of solution, making what is often described as a milky solution.

What is Louching?

This process is known as Louching, and is normally seen when preparing absinthe, and many other ‘anis’ drinks, such as Sambuca, Ouzo, Rake, Mastika, Pastis, Arrack etc. The chemical explanation of this phenomenon is that Anethole, (which is the essential oil derived from the anise plant,) is soluble in alcohol at approximately 30% vol. and higher.

The Absinthe Louche

The Absinthe Louche

Therefore, if the liquid is diluted to well below 30% by adding water, the anethole comes out of solution, appearing as a milky opalescent  cloud.  Ice water will increase the effect, as solutes are less soluble in cold liquids than in warm; the same effect as 4 spoons of sugar will easily dissolve in a glass of hot tea. However when the tea cools down, the undissolved sugar can be seen lying at the bottom of the glass in a pile.
Some Absinthe experts make a big issue of the louching ; but it is simply if & how much anethole is present in the absinthe, when it is made, and has no real bearing on the quality.

Where the Ritual come from?

Some argue that louching is a process that is necessary in order to make Absinthe drinkable. This is simply untrue. Absinthe can be enjoyed with iced water, in a cocktail and with mixers. The process of Louching is actually more of a ritual that started in the late 19th century. Despite popular belief the original ritual did not include dripping water onto a sugar cube, this was added later as a type of show.  The idea behind the louche was to water down the spirit and dilute it. However some say that by adding sugar and diluting the Absinthe, you are actually releasing the powers of the ‘Green Fairy’ , a symbol of freedom, liberty and all things unusual.  This rich and beautiful ritual was practiced by artists, writers and poets of the last 19th century and became the absinthe drinkers method of traditional preparation until today.

The Fire ritual which we see today is a fairly recent phenomenon which started in Czech in the 1990’s and is by no means the recommended way to drink Absinthe. However, dipping the sugar cube in Absinthe and lighting it proves that the ritual is still alive and changing with the times… Happy Hapsburg to you all.

Lighting the Sugar cube

Lighting the Sugar cube; not our recommended method but very popular