Gwydion Stone

since December 2009
job Distiller, Absinthe Evangelist


How to Make a Cocktail Video 2 Oct 2015
4:37 pm

I especially like the little flourish at around 3:20.

Bainbridge Island Iced Tea 21 Apr 2013
11:51 am

Wonderful idea; I’ll have to try it.  I’d think the Grasshopper would throw off the delicate balance, though.

Mint Julep - NOT a Mojito Made with Bourbon 15 Aug 2012
1:26 pm

Nice video, Jeffrey. 

“... sour mix, Rose’s lime juice and Sprite”?  Seriously?  Someone did that??

Trevor, when I saw your comment I was hoping that it would be a video of Chris McMillian.  I saw him do that at Tales in ‘06 and I’ve loved it ever since.  I need to learn that poem.

I believe it’s a good day for a julep.

Mordechai's Sweet Revenge Cocktail 1 Apr 2013
11:36 am

Absolutely brilliant.

How to Serve Absinthe 16 Mar 2010
7:19 pm

I’m late to the conversation, but Robert is correct about the flaming, although I don’t think the fire method was observed much before 1998 when it was first popularized in the goth/industrial clubs in Prague.

“Proper” absinthe preparation is not so much a matter of propriety as practicality.  The cloudiness of the louche of a good absinthe comes from the aromatic oils from the botanicals reacting with the addition of the water. Think of it in terms of an emulsion, like a vinaigrette. The slower addition allows a more gradual and more complete dissolution of the mixture, thereby developing the flavors and aromas latent in the solution more completely.

The fire thing is just a showy bar stunt that has no particular function and was developed to make up for the non-event of adding water to the inferior absinthe. Whereas the slower addition of water has a real effect on the quality of the drink.

The fire method consists of dousing the sugar with the high-proof absinthe, lighting it and allowing it to burn, dripping the molten sugar into the (now also burning) absinthe.  Needless to say, this makes the absinthe taste like burnt marshmallows and leaves little brown candy globs at the bottom of the glass.

I like to compare it to boiling a pot of coffee or tea, grilling a fillet mignon extra-well or serving Pinot Noir over crushed ice… with a straw.  Hey, it’s your drink, but people will look at you funny. ; )

The sugar cube wasn’t invented until 1843, and prior to that time loaf or cone sugar was indeed used.  I have an image around here somewhere of the loaf on a cafe table with the little nippers used to break off bits.

The special absinthe spoons and fountains didn’t appear until the latter 1800s and during this period sugar was usually added to absinthe in the form of gomme syrup or simple syrup. 

Prior to that time the carafe method shown in this video was nearly universal, with emphasis still on adding the water gradually.

When preparing absinthe on my own at home, I add some simple syrup to the absinthe and stir it in well, then slowly add icy cold water from a carafe.


How to Serve Absinthe 8 Jun 2010
10:11 pm

I’m glad you liked the episode Ryan, I had fun!

Of course I’ll recommend my own brand, Marteau, when it returns to the shelves at your nearby retailer (I’m currently looking for a place in Seattle to open my own distillery).  I make it myself from the best raw materials available, strictly according to tradition.

Other brands I recommend are Pacifique Verte, made in Woodinville, Washington by absinthe specialist Marc Bernhard, and Viuex Carré, made by Rob Cassell of Philadelphia Distilling (Bluecoat Gin). Keep an eye out for Ridge Verte, too, coming out of Montana later this year and made by Joe Legate.

European brands that meet with many experienced absintheur’s approval are the Jade line made in France by New Orleans native, Ted Breaux and the Duplais line coming out of the Matter-Luginbuhl distillery in Switzerland.

These can all seem a little more costly compared to some of the mass-produced corporate brands, but remember that there are 25 drinks per bottle, and these are all handcrafted according to 19th century traditional standards, not made with essential oils and artificial coloring.

It’s always a good idea to check out the consumer reviews in The Wormwood Society review section and browse the discussion forums BEFORE making a purchase.


Catch a Buzz in Seattle 9 Dec 2009
8:22 am

Congrats on the new show, Natalie.  And of course, everything starts better with coffee!