Zufanek Absinthe St Antoine
Czech absinthe that’s made right. By Natasha Hong.
What is it That this absinthe comes from Czechia doesn’t mean it’s e-numbers bachelor-party juice. Zufanek is about as romantic as maker stories come: mum and dad Marcela and Josef Zufanek founded the brand in 2000, and sons Martin, Josef and Jan all work in the family farm and distillery, located in the country’s fruit bowl, Moravia. Their portfolio is a mixed bag of liqueurs, fruit brandies and even a gin – the increasingly bar-visible OMG. But the family’s herb garden gets a full run in their range of absinthes, with Mead Base built on honey liqueur, and Justifiee & Ancienne on wine spirit cellared in a French oak barrel (and named after British 1990s alt-dance band KLF).
How does it taste? New to Singapore is the Absinthe St Antoine, produced to an original French verte recipe, with herbs and spices like lemon balm, hyssop, melissa and two species of wormwood – artmesia absinthium and artemisia pontica – which are all macerated before the imbued liquid is distilled, then steeped again with more herbs for colour and flavour. In the glass, the laborious effort pays off with a heady scent of aniseed top notes countered with a musty undertone that match the bodied punch of earthiness and bright hit of more anise. After the louche, expect peeks of rock sugar and lighter fennel notes to come through.