Originally Posted by Steve Kroll
Well... shrimp, tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh dill, and a healthy splash of ouzo. Ok. Two splashes. One for the cook.
What's that oozy stuff like? I've heard of it before and I've been meaning to try it. I did a little bit of homework for this post and discovered interesting reading at Wikipedia. (I'm often just floored at the excellence of articles on this free public resource. In fact I'm one of the editors!
Wikipedia - Ouzo
: (according to the article) Ouzo began as part of a pet project by a group of 14th century monks living in a monastery on Mount Athos. Modern distillation took off in the beginning of the 19th century following the Greek independence with production centered on the island of Lesbos, which claims to be the originator of the drink. In the early 20th century absinthe fell into disfavor (because there are claims that it eats your brains out) and ouzo took an increase in popularity since both drinks are based in anise, a taste similar to liquorice. (It's interesting that Thai basil has a taste overtone similar to liquorice. I wonder if there are any common chemicals between ouzo and Thai basil such as an essential oil or something.)
Wikipedia - Ouzo effect
: (according...) happens when a strongly hydrophobic essential oil such as trans-anethole is dissolved in a water miscible solvent such as ethanol (our beloved alcohol) and the concentration is lowered by the addition of small amounts of water. This is the effect that occurs when absinthe is prepared with the liquor being poured into a glass and a special slotted spoon is placed over the glass with a sugar cube in it, and ice water poured over. The essential oil is dissolved in the alcohol-water beverage but when additional water is added the alcohol (solvent) concentration drops too low to allow the essential oil to remain in solution so it emulsifies out and the mixture turns cloudy. Thus the ouzo effect.
Wikipedia - Absinthe
: (ditto...) famous with a reputation of a "brain eater" because of it's reputation as a "dangerously addictive psycho-addictive drug." Although banned in many countries in the early 20th century there has been a debunking that the wormwood (active ingredient: thujone
) which was accused of "eating our brains out." Yet by the late 20th century (1990s) it has become legal again in the US and many other countries. (BTW just an aside, it's interesting to explore the connection to well known absinthe aficionados such as Ernest Hemingway, Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Tolouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde. (This is an amazing collection of authors and artists!) The article names more but I cited only those whose works I'm familiar with.
So tell us how you drink your ouzo Steve.
And I wonder if anybody else would like to try absinthe. I'm not totally sure it's good for you, but apparently it's legal in US and said to not be harmful, although I gather this would not be a good thing to drink a lot of (due to the thujone) but I think a time or two in moderation wouldn't hurt you.