Herbsaint is an absinthe substitute introduced after Prohibition. It was important in the Sazerac and other cocktails until absinthe was re-legalized in the US in 2007.
December 19, 2009, 3:00PM
A new bottle that looks antique will appear on liquor store shelves this week. In honor of the 75th anniversary of Herbsaint, the local Sazerac Company dug into its archives for the original recipe and recreated the absinthe substitute first sold in 1934.
The story says that the proof will be raised back to 50% ABV and that instead of using extracts in neutral alcohol, they will dip herbs into alcohol like a big tea bag.
Absinthe (good absinthe, anyway) is made by adding the flavoring herbs into the still and redistilling alcohol. Then most absinthes (verte, or the green ones) have additional herbs added after distillation, which gives them their green color.
Some bartenders say that they still prefer Herbsaint to absinthe in a Sazerac,so we'll see what they think about the new bottle. Herbsaint does have one large advantage over absinthe- the price. It comes in at around $20/bottle as opposed to $50 or so for absinthe, but as you use only a dash or two that may not matter too much in the long run. The new Herbsaint Original is set to retail for $34.99 according to the story.