DTLA: Absinthe Green Hour at Kendall’s
Kendall’s Brasserie just launched an absinthe Green Hour available Tuesday-Friday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Conceived by Patina Restaurant Group’s Paul Sanguinetti who was tapped to revamp the bar program at Kendall’s, he pays homage to the time when artists and other bohemians gathered to discuss literature, art, politics and the like. Paul would like to see Kendall’s as a place to go for more than just pre-theatre dining. After 8 p.m., the restaurant gets less crowded and a convivial absinthe hour can commence.
The United States lifted the ban on absinthe a few years ago. Many countries had banned the spirit fearing its supposed hallucinogenic effects. It is however untrue. The component thujone found in absinthe is so insignificant, you would have to drink more than 7 bottles to feel anything. And by that time, you’d probably have succumbed to alcohol poisoning rather than going berserk.
Absinthe can be colorless but it’s probably best known for being green. The green color comes from the botanicals used to distill. Notably, absinthe uses wormwood, green anise and sweet fennel. The aforementioned thujone is in the wormwood. Absinthe was originally distilled in Switzerland and quickly spread over the border to France. To enjoy, you can either prepare it using an absinthe drip with icy cold water or some add water directly to absinthe directly. Paul prefers the drip which he can control by adding the water slowly. Once water is added, it clouds over and that’s called the “louche.” If you buy absinthe, make sure to buy the real stuff. It should never be referred to as a liqueur as it’s a spirit. If it’s a liqueur, it’s probably sweetened vodka or other base spirit with green dye.
If you like it a little sweeter, you can add a sugar cube to your absinthe during the drip process. The sugar cube sits on the specially designed absinthe spoon that lays flat across the glass’ mouth. And it’s not necessary to light the sugar on fire. That’s just one of those showy moves for oohs and ahhs.
At Kendall’s they have have a range of absinthes from Switzerland, France and the Americas. I’m most familiar with St. George Spirits’ Absinthe (watch my video here from when I went to visit the distillery) but was glad I got to try the Abyss from Switzerland. It was very mysterious and I can see why the intellectuals were so taken by absinthe.
During those absinthe dark years where country after country banned it, the French came up with a wormwood-less spirit called Pastis. Kendall’s have a selection of pastis as well. I noticed there was a very distinctive aroma and taste of anise.
Absinthe is meant to be enjoyed with food. Kendall’s will be rolling out a special menu to go with the Green Hour. There’ll be cheese, cured meats and small bites.
If sipping absinthe with just water isn’t your thing, try the absinthe cocktails. I had the Improved Absinthe Frappe (Kubler Absinthe, Luxardo Maraschino, Peychaud’s bitters, Angostura bitters). Next time I’d like to try the Chrysanthemum (St. George Absinthe, Benedictine, Dolin dry vermouth, orange peel) and D-Day (Vieux Carre Absinthe, Templeton rye, Germain Robin apple brandy, Peychaud’s bitters, lemon peel). The Turf Club (Ridge Distillery Absinthe, Plymouth gin, Dolin dry vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino, bitters, lemon peel) also sounds like a great sipper. Or try the classic absinthe cocktail, Death in the Afternoon (La Clandestine Absinthe, Champagne).
Absinthe Green Hour
Tuesdays- Fridays, 8P-10P(213) 972-7322
© The Minty 2013