Texas-Made Absinthe Launches in Houston This Week
Violet Crown Spirits has released the first Texas-made absinthe to the Houston market. Made at the new Derelict Airship Distillery in Bastrop, the product is called Emerald Absinthe and was created by former lab scientist Matthew Mancuso.
Mancuso used his chemistry skills to experiment with three traditional flavor components: wormwood, aniseed and fennel. He searched for old recipes online, then used laboratory equipment to recreate recipes and tweak them to his tastes. The end result—Emerald Absinthe—showcases the botanical flavors and isn’t excessively bitter. (Despite decades of myth, the legendary spirit will not cause hallucinogenic episodes, either.)
When Jessica Leigh Graves—now a founding member of Violet Crown Spirits along with Mancuso and Chris McLaughlin—first tasted Mancuso’s product, she expected to be deterred by the “licorice” flavor she associated with absinthe. She was surprised to find not only that his product was good, but “that any absinthe could be remotely enjoyable.”
The perception is one many Americans share; it comes from tasting versions made with less expensive star anise, rather than the green anise found in traditional recipes. Graves became a convert, and helped Mancuso start the company shortly after.
In June of this year, with the permit process finally complete, the first bottle of Emerald Absinthe from Violet Crown Spirits went out to bars and restaurants.
Brasserie du Parc, the French restaurant near Discovery Green known for its absinthe service, will celebrate Emerald Absinthe with a launch party on Friday, November 17. The party will include all the absinthiana, the accessories such as spoons and drips that go along with serving the drink. Beverage manager Kim Paul has also created some special cocktails using the spirit and chef de cuisine Romain Mauger is preparing sweet and savory bites to go alongside.
Representatives from the distillery will be on hand to discuss their product and answer questions about absinthe. Event tickets are $35 if purchased in advance via Eventbrite and $40 at the door.
Other local bars and establishments carrying Emerald Absinthe include Local Foods Downtown, Coltivare, Nobie’s, and Prohibition in Houston, and Marais in Dickinson. Those who want to take home a bottle can purchase it at Houston Wine Merchant, Tony K’s, and Goody Goody Liquor.