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Absinthe

So… this is where your chase for the green fairy has landed you. Fortunately for you, I, Lee “Self-Proclaimed Absinthe Connoisseur” Lockman solemnly pledge to edutain you on everything you need to know about the voluptuous tasting emerald pixie. After I’m done sprinkling all the absinthe fairy facts you’ve ever needed… (actually, probably more than you ever needed…) into your heads, you’ll be permitted on my behalf to claim to be a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur yourself (what an honor…).

If you want to know the history, the mythology, how to drink absinthe, and of course the effects, you’ve actually clicked yourself into a subtle victory. Brav-fucking-o. 

What is absinthe?

In order to know what the green fairy is we have to strip it down and see what we’re working with (I’m sure we’re all a tad bit curious about how hot a tiny green fairy would be, and especially how one would go about making out with her… like… would she fully need to be in my mouth? Would I have to work her around like she’s a Werther’s original? These are the questions we need answers to… Right? … Nope? Just me? Ok then… well either way you pictured yourself swishing around a green fay in your mouth like she was Listerine, so ha).

Anyways, at its most rudimentary level, absinthe is a high proof spirit, which means it has a very high alcohol content, which really means that you shouldn’t be surprised if you spontaneously need to run outside (to cool off) in the middle of a classic PacWest torrential downpour because your cheeks begin to feel like they’ve been marinating in a hot tub for three hours. Nevertheless, the official stat sheet on absinthe is that the proof level is between 90-148, and the alcohol by volume ranges from 45-74%. 

Verte v. Blanche

The spirit comes in two distinct forms: verte absinthe (it’s the green one, which you’re probably most familiar with. It resembles the color of Hulk’s diarrhea after a night of St. Patrick’s Day drinking with a side order of 500 suicide wings. In other words, a beautiful esoteric color) and blanche absinthe or la Bleue as the good people of “Svitz-erland” call it (oh, and by the way, it’s actually not white, it’s rather a little more on the colorless and opaque side of things. So, don’t expect it to look like your homemade unpasteurized almond milk).

Absinthe is produced in a way that resembles the distillation process of a top-shelf gin. Artisanally speaking, absinthe is prepped from the redistillation of a neutral alcohol, typically that of a white grape spirit, while some non-traditionalists tend to use alcohol made from grain, beets, or potatoes.

Sacred Herbs

There is also a variety of herbs and botanicals used during the distillation process. But the quintessential “holy trinity” (yeah, that’s what they actually call it) of botanicals of any absinthe must include grande wormwood, green anise, and Florence fennel. If the holy trinity of botanicals is not present then you more or less are drinking isopropyl (which isn’t in the most ideal way to get drunk, but hey a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do to dull this existence just a bit, no?).

The wormwood in particular is the source of a lot of the mysticism around absinthe. Wormwood contains the compound known as thujone, which has been purported to have hallucinogenic or psychotropic effects. But more on that later.

There are also a handful of herbs that are commonly used in the distillation process, which include hyssop, Melissa, star anise, Angelica, peppermint, coriander, and Veronica (probably the closest any of you will ever come to having four women in your mouths simultaneously is drinking absinthe… don’t worry its the same for me). Once the distillation is complete then you have fully finished blanche absinthe.

Now with the verte absinthe, the chlorophyll from each of these herbs are extracted during the distillation process, and reintroduced during maceration giving it that eloquent emerald color (aka sweet-tasting leprechaun tears). One last thing on the color; you want to avoid at all costs producers that use alternative methods (artificial bullshit) to color their “absinthe.”

Herb Talk

Basically, the only distinction between the verte and blanche absinthe is the reintroduction of the extracted chlorophyll. And, basically, that’s why I prefer la bleue absinthe over verte… Because let’s be real here, all men should refuse to add more vegetables or “herbs” (which are basically dried-up vegetables disguised as “spices”) to their alcohol… and we should be ashamed that this ever happened… and continues to happen to alcohol around the world…

Absinth(e)

One little note on another variation of “absinthe.” So, our Czech friends created their own version of absinth and it is commonly known as “Bohemian-style” absinth. To be frank, it really isn’t absinthe per se, and it’s not only because there isn’t an “e” at the end.

Bohemian-style absinth is more of a “wormwood vodka” so to speak, mostly due to the wormwood being the sole commonality between the two variations of absinth(e)’s. If you’re going to be a legitimate absinthe connoisseur then you’ll need to know this distinction and tout your absinthe intellect to absolutely nobody. If you’re going the self-proclaimed route feel free to forget this until you drink yourself into remembering it… I know I just did. 

History of Absinthe

The history of absinthe is a fabled tale filled with controversy and even has a splash murder. But let’s start from the very start.

Absinthe was first created in the 1790s by the French Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. He did so while living in a country that created cheese with holes in it (yes, I’m talking about Switzerland again). The good doctor’s initial intent for his concoction was to be used as an alcohol-based medicine for menstrual cramps and fevers (I mean I don’t know how an alcohol-based elixir wouldn’t be “successful” in one form or another, but anyways).

Back, back in the day wormwood was used by both the Egyptians and the Greeks for medicinal purposes. So, that’s kind of how our boy Pierre developed the idea. He also had discovered through his studies that the Greeks used the wormwood leaves and soaked them in wine, which was called absinthites oinos. The Greeks used it to remedy laborious pains and inflammation, and it’s pretty evident why… (nothing cures those aches and pains more than a shot of liquid relief… oh and drink responsibly and whatever…)

Pierre’s delicious jade elixir recipe was passed to the Henriod sisters, who commercially produced and sold the medicine to pharmacies around the area of Couvet, Switzerland. By 1797 the sisters sold their recipe for a nice chunk of cash to a Frenchman by the name of Major Dubied (this was my nickname in college by the way, oh and smoke responsibly and again, whatever). Later that year Majors daughter married Henri-Louis Pernod, which ultimately culminated in the first commercial distillery to produce absinthe.

Popularity of Absinthe

 

It wasn’t too much longer after the second Pernod production distillery was up and running in the tiny commune of Pontarlier, France. The small town effectively bordered Switzerland. In the early 1800s production of absinthe was very minimal. On a good day, they would often produce around 16 litres a day (about the amount of IPA I consume in a week). But, by the mid-1850s absinthe was so popular the distillery was pumping out around 30,000 liters a day (my IPA consumption yearly, give or take a few liters).

The reason why there was this exponential growth in consumption was mostly due to the military-industrial complex. Just kidding, well maybe just kind of kidding. Absinthe’s popularity was on a steady rise after French troops were given the emerald elixir as a malaria preventive in the Franco-Algerian War (And, yes the French lost that war as well…). Absinthe was also used as a digestive aid, and an antiseptic for open wounds.

After the war had ended the boys needed their absinthe thirst quenched, which ultimately triggered a collective desire for the green medicine around the country. The demand became so heightened distilleries began popping up all over France. And remember that tiny town of Pontarlier it alone stood up 14 distilleries.

The boom of Absinthe can also be contributed to a vine-eating insect known as the grape phylloxera. This little fucker devoured nearly 66% of the vineyards in Europe, and caused “The Great French Wine Blight” in the latter half of the 1800’s. It single-handled almost brought down the entire wine industry. It would feed of the grape roots, which culminated in the vine’s growth becoming stunt or just killed them. This had a huge effect on the wine industry due to the lack of production.

This kind of created this perfect storm for absinthe to catapult into popularity, especially in France. The French couldn’t get enough of absinthe and were imbibing it more than all other countries combined. By the end of the 1800s, absinthe was to the French that IPAs are to men in flannel… absinthe was so popular that five o’clock in the evening was known as “L’Heure Verte” or the “Green Hour” (even though I swear five in the morning is actually when you see the green fairy, more on that later…).

Absinthe & Feminism?

Here’s a hot fact for all you feminists out there: absinthe was huge in permitting women to drink with men. In other words, you ladies were allowed to actually come to hang out and sling back some booze with us MEN. This was mostly due to how absinthe alleviated menstrual cramps, and you know how awkward us guys are with that kind of umm stuff… Anyways, seems to me alcohol builds bridges… and I guess is a great pyrotechnic in burning them down, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Absinthe “Science”

This popularity of absinthe obviously also escalated some “no-good” behavior by some people having some good old fashion fun. This in turn caused a gradual shift in the ire of society and placed it on the “degenerative” behavior that alcohol produces (mhmm riiiight… because it’s the alcohol that makes the person shitty, rather than a shitty person drinking alcohol…. Mhmmm okay then). Due to the bellowing societal outrage towards what some people would call belligerent behavior (and what I call a normal Tuesday night), it prompted the French psychiatrist “Doctor” Valentin Magnan to investigate absinthe.

And, like any good scientist, he went into it objectively and restricted his biases, and performed an ethical scientific discovery. In the words of Borat, “NAT!” This little weasel came to the “objective” conclusion that absinthe was to blame for the collapse of French culture.

Magnan conducted experiments (*Here’s a hot tip incoming PETA*) on animals using thujone – remember that “hallucinogenic” compound – and wormwood oil. This guy force fed some rats high concentrations of thujone, which ultimately led to their little rat lives ending due to convulsions (Hand-up. I’ll admit I did “consider” distilling a thujone concentrate and putting it in my boss’s coffee, but… I found out the hard way that the thujone taste was umm how do I put it… uh too obvious to hide… unless I added Bailey’s, but I’m sure you understand my conundrum). Moreover, that rat-dick (Magnan) threw a vial of wormwood oil down the hatch of a dog, and made observations on the dog while it went “crazy”. It barked at a brick wall for half an hour (the dog not Magnan). In conclusion, Magnan was too much of a bitch to test his own product (unlike me, a true scientist), but even more unfortunately his findings were supported by other “scientists”. At the time it became one of thee precipitating factors in the myth of absinthe being a hallucinogenic. The collective conscious was subsequently struck by fear, and the narrative around absinthe began to take a sinister turn…

And Then the Murder Happened

Murder is usually an ugly act no matter the circumstances, but it gets even uglier when people try to capitalize on the death of another in order to push their agenda through society (oops sorry for being so serious). Of course, now this happens in our society virtually on a daily basis, but on August 28th 1905 it effectively dismantled the absinthe industry.

The sun had not opened its eye on the small village of Commugny, Switzerland. The rough and tumbled peasant Jean Lanfray had begun stirring around 4:30 am, and by stirring, I mean stirring a shot of absinthe with three parts water and stirring it down his throat (some people would say this is impressive, but I’d say still drinking at 4:30 am is even more impressive. But that’s just my opinion…). The former member of the French army clearly needed to keep up with his “malaria prevention” regimen.

Anyways, he lived on the second floor of a two-story farmhouse, where him, his wife and their two children lived (Rose four and a half; Blanche one and a half) resided. The farmhouse was shared with his parents and his brother who lived on the bottom floor.

While Lanfray was getting dressed he punished another absinthe and water (number 2). He wiped his rosy chapped lips and snorted the running snot back into his drunken red bulbous snout. He informed his wife to wax his boots while he went about his day. His wife sighed and said something under her breath. There were reports that they had been in a perpetual state of quarrel for about a year at that point (and it doesn’t sound like that cute bickering that’s in every rom-com).

On Jean’s way out he repeated that she ought to do a good job on shining his boots (kind of ironic that the “military man” needed his wife to polish his boots, but whatever). He trudged to the family barn and let the cows out to the pasture. Afterwards Lanfray returned to soak up that absinthe with some coffee and bread. After his belly had absorbed that nutrient filled breakfast, he headed downstairs to link up with his faja and brother.

It was 5:30 in the morning and the three Lanfrays began their commute to the vineyard that they were all employed at. While strolling to work Jean thought he had earned a reward for all the work he had done already and popped into the local inn/pub (they’re known as auberge’s). Jean slung back a crème de menthe with water (who needs Listerine), and cognac and soda (FYI: his liquor intake was meticulously documented by Swiss law enforcement). After getting the buzz he needed to make it through the first half of his day he arrived at work.

At noon, the lunchtime whistle sounded, and the “I need a drink alarm” in Jean’s noggin simultaneously went off. It was time to booze again for ol’ Jean-ey boy. It was known around town that Jean had concocted the strongest Piquette – a type of homemade wine – in the neighborhood. He threw two to three glasses worth of his infamous wine back. Down the hatch, it goes. Oh, and he did of course accompany his wine o’clock with some bread, cheese and sausage (talk about a balanced meal).

At 1500 he imbibed two more glasses of his homemade Jesus juice to get through the last bit of his shift. Yet, at 4:15 he graciously accepted another glass from a neighbor to get him through the last 15 minutes of his shift. The three Lanfrays were heading home from their day of digging and drinking at the vineyard, but before making it home they stopped into a café where Jean pressed his lips and sipped on a black coffee laced with brandy.

It was five in the evening and Jean and his father headed home where they each drank a litre of the infamous Lanfray Piquette (this what we call sport drinking ladies and gentlemen). Jean’s wife was obviously a tad bit irritated that her husband was such a sloppopotamus and did nothing around the house (classic women, am I right…?).

She asked Jean if he would be so inclined to go milk the cows because he neglected to do so in the morning (they sold their milk to a local creamery). He essentially told his wife to kick rocks and milk the cows herself. He then demanded she makes a cup of piping hot coffee for himself. She obliged on all fronts.

While Jean’s wife was milking the cows, Jean needed just a little more oomph to his coffee. So, he decided to splash in a heavy hand of his homemade brandy (basically moonshine brandy). His wife eventually came back in sometime later and told Jean that she was going to take the milk to the creamery. Jean responded by telling her that his coffee was cold (he was probably too drunk at this point to understand that adding his homebrew brandy more than likely cooled off his coffee).

She gave him one of those “meh” shrugs… and that’s when Jean had noticed his boots under the sink, and it wasn’t because they were shiny or highly polished. His unwaxed boots pushed Jean one step closer into a drunken rage, and he began cursing at his soon to be dead wife.

Old man Lanfray who was witnessing his son steaming like a cup of coffee (before homemade brandy is dumped in it) thought this might be a good time to exit. He said bon voyage to his daughter-in-law who responded with another audacious shrug. Jean told her to respect his old man, which prompted his wife to shrug for the last time.

This set Jean off and throttled him into a state of vein-popping rage. They began enmeshed in abusive language with one another, which culminated in Jean telling her to “Shut up!” (clearly at this point, she dismantled whatever was left of his psych because we know the person who says “shut up” is the one who has nothing more to say) and she responded with “Make me!”

Jean’s rebuttable was to grab his long-barrelled rifle and shoot his wife in the head. She died almost instantly. His father ran out of the house, while his oldest granddaughter ran into the room where her mom had expired and she was met with a bullet to her chest. Jean still emanating rage went to his youngest daughters’ room and killed her as well. He took aim at his face to end the misery he created, but he wasn’t going to get away with life that easily.

The drunk missed his brain and the bullet lodged in his lower jaw. He was found by the police in his barn bleeding profusely with his youngest in his arms and Jean was taken into custody. Lanfray claimed that he didn’t remember killing his family (I’ve had my fair share of blackouts, but damn I’m pretty sure he would flash-in into some of it… maybe when he tried blowing off his face?). He eventually Jeffery Epstien’d himself (but like actually hung himself…) three days into the trial of his murder.

The citizens of Commugny held an emergency town meeting to deal with the murder that shaken their tiny little town. They needed to find an answer. An answer to the horrible drunken bloodshed that had occurred. And… they decided on absinthe… Every citizen at that meeting claimed absinthe was the root cause of the murder committed by Jean (I guess they’re all scientists and doctors in this village, similar to our friend ol’ doctor rat dick…?).

A petition was signed, and along with the rising “scientific” evidence it led to absinthe being banned in Switzerland in 1908, and many countries followed suit with the Netherlands in 1909, the good ol’ US of A in 1912, and France in 1914.  

Now, you just read what I would say was a very detailed account of the events that occurred on August 28th. Shit, I bet you maybe even forgot this entire article was about absinthe, but somehow, someway absinthe was the main culprit of Jean’s murder spree that day.

During the time of the ban, many distilleries changed their recipe of absinthe and created anise-flavored boozes (patise and ouzo) to try and replicate the flavor profile of absinthe. While some distilleries went underground and sold it clandestinely. Interestingly, many European countries never bothered with banning absinthe.

Modern Resurrection

 

Like a phoenix from the ashes, absinthe rose back into popularity. 1988 was when absinthe indirectly became “legal” again in Europe through some new provisions regarding food additives in the EU. Thujone was one of the additives that were involved and okay’d by the regulations (I guess this where we’re supposed to thank the government for giving something back that they took away…?).

In the 1990’s, the British importer BBH Spirits began importing absinth from the Czech Republic. The UK was one of those countries that never got around to banning absinthe (I guess they had more important things to consider over the course of the 20th century…). This sparked more European countries who didn’t ban absinthe to import more of that knock-off Bohemian shit.

However, the real connoisseurs claimed Czech absinth wasn’t actually absinthe (understandably so), because it was missing two of the main ingredients to even be considered absinthe. This prompted many distilleries around Europe to try and replicate an authentic version of absinthe.

Absinthe picked up a lot of steam legislatively from 2000-2006 throughout Europe. The French in effect revoked the absinthe ban in the year of Y2K, while both the Dutch and Swiss all followed suit in pulling back their bans on absinthe.

And, here in the US, 2007 was the year that we lifted the illegality of the emerald elixir. It was also the same year the first absinthe distillery popped open in the diaper of the west coast, or in other words California. This propelled a bunch of micro-distilleries around the country to open up and produce the green fairy to try and capitalize on the hipster’s thirst for the spirit.

Myths – AKA Will I actually Trip Balls & Murder my Family?!

So, we kind of touched on this throughout, and I hope at this point you’ve been able to use your deductive assertions to dispel such a myth (I really do hope but I doubt it…). As alluded to, wormwood contains thujone, a supposed psychoactive. However, since science kind of progressed over the last century, it was discovered that unfortunately… there is not enough thujone in the wormwood to make you bear witness to inter-dimensional elves when drinking absinthe.

However, there has been some research that does show that highly concentrated levels of thujone can block GABA receptors. But again, it doesn’t make you hallucinate, rather you’d end up like one of Magnan’s rats, which really means you’d convulse and die (but Hello afterlife, am I right?).

So, the boring truth is that no absinthe won’t make you hallucinate, and you’re far more likely of getting your stomach pumped than hallucinating when drinking ladles of absinthe. Even back in the “emerald age” of absinthe, it was very unlikely that it would cause hallucinations. But hey, if you have an extra €3,500 lying around, get this bottle and I’ll make the pilgrimage to your lovely abode.

This myth of absinthe being a hallucinogenic has such an allure around it that people often believe that absinthe was banned because it did make you see trees talking to each other (trip-balls). Rather, absinthe was banned because of this thing called the temperance movement, which was essentially a socio-political movement in the 19th and 20th century that tried to claim alcohol on the whole was the root of all evil (these people are cut from the same linen of people who claim kids playing video games makes them want to shoot-up a school).

So, yeah, drink as much absinthe as you want (it is virtually legal worldwide), but for the love of fuck don’t do it to try and hallucinate (you’ll read why later). Oh, and pssst, just to let you know there is a wide spectrum of drugs that will feed that desire of helping you catch a green fairy to perform your sexual acts upon (just me again…?). So, just do that (PS for legal purposes I’m not condoning or telling you to buy drugs from me, yet).

How to Drink Absinthe

Alright, enough of the history and myths and the blah blah blahs about absinthe. Let’s get into how you actually become a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur and the best way to do that is by knowing how to properly drink it the way you like best.

As your uncle Lee, I will try and provide you with all the ways I’ve drunk absinthe in order for you to find your way to self-proclamation.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Ok, so for starters you’re going to want to find a nice bottle of absinthe. You’re looking for something that actually contains the holy trinity of natural wormwood, green-anise and fennel (try not to get anything with artificial flavors, absinthe isn’t a four loko). It doesn’t really matter if it’s of the blanche or verte variety (pick whatever you want). But you do want an absinthe with high alcohol content.
  2. A Pontarlier glass if you want to be a snob, but any lowball glass will work fine
  3. An absinthe spoon for reasons you’ll understand in a minute, depending on how fast you read.
  4. Absinthe fountain if you are an individual of the bourgeoisie…
  5. Ice cold water.
  6. Sugar cubes.
  7. Fire. Yes. Fire. So, matches or a lighter.

French Method

Ok, so this pretty much is the most widely accepted method in imbibing the jade liquid in France… I’ve had my fair share of experiences using this method, and needless to say, it’s a very classy/ritualistic way to get schwammerd.

  1. Pour one ounce of absinthe into a glass. The glass really doesn’t matter, but the Pontarlier glass is made specifically for drinking absinthe, so duh, it would be best, but at the end of the day, you just need something other than your mouth to pour it into first.
  2. Lay one of those intricately designed absinthe spoons across the rim of your glass, and place a sugar cube on top. If you’re in a real bind just use a fork, it works as well just not as well.
  3. Drip/delicately pour about three to four ounces of ice-cold water from a pitcher over top of the sugar cube. This process creates the louche of absinthe, which really means diluting the absinthe with water. Now, this is when it is nice to know someone who has disposable income and owns an absinthe fountain because it slowly pours ice-cold water over the sugar cube in a way that you could never do with a pitcher. And, trust me pouring water slowly and precisely over a sugar on a fork persistently gets more difficult after each louche of absinthe.
  4. Drop the spoon with any residual sugar on it and stir it up, and santé there you have it.

Czech/Bohemian Method

This became very popular during the age of grunge music and beanie babies. The 1990’s saw that explosion of Czech absinth, which rendered its own method to drink the anise-flavored spirit.

  1. Pour an ounce of absinthe into your glass, and place the spoon with the sugar cube on the rim of the glass.
  2. Soak the sugar cube with some more absinthe. Don’t overkill it, just get it wet enough.
  3. Light the absinthe-soaked sugar on fire for approximately a minute. You’ll see the sugar cube begin to caramelize. Please don’t burn the sugar or you will have wasted the absinthe you soaked your cube with, and we don’t want to waste…
  4. Slowly pour some ice-cold water (the same amount as above is fine) over top the unburned sugar cube creating that louche effect.
  5. Drop the spoon and stir, and Na zdraví.

Louche Waterfall

This method is also known as the glass in a glass method. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a good way to get a nice louche out of your absinthe.

  1. Place a shot glass into a lowball glass. Or any small glass into a larger glass depending on how much absinthe you want running through your system. Fill the smaller/shot glass up with absinthe.
  2. Slowly pour that chilled water into the small glass, causing it to waterfall into the larger glass. Again, you wanted to aim for about 3-4 ounces of water. Eventually, the large glass will contain your desired louche and the shot glass will only have water left in it.
  3. Take the shot glass out and toss it into your sink, and start drinking your waterfall absinthe.

Backdraft

This is by far the most dangerous way to drink absinthe and is a way to kind of freebase your absinthe (basically get the most bang for your buck). Obviously, this is the manner in which I choose to drink my absinthe since there isn’t any dilution… but mostly because involves fire. However, there is a lot of trial and error with this method, and it did come at the cost of burning down my kitchen and singeing my beard on multiple occasions, but at the end of the day if I don’t care what I do with my property (my body, my choice or my kitchen my choice…) then you shouldn’t either…

  1. Grab a shot glass and fill ¾ full with absinthe. This is important, trust me when I say this, bad things will happen if you fill your glass to the top. Oh, and make sure you have hands in order to be able to palm the top of the glass.
  2. With a match or lighter set the ¾ shot on fire. The flame should take right away due to the alcohol content. You also want to make sure that you don’t have enough time to grab marshmallows and roast them over your absinthe. The flame should be short-lived or you may be shortening your life.
  3. After about 5 seconds you will want to place your palm (this is where having hands becomes essential) over top the shot glass. Your hands will feel like they are beginning to suction the shot glass. Please don’t worry about your hand burning, it’s impossible for a flame to keep flaming without oxygen. But again, remember to not burn the absinthe that long, it will lose its potency and that’s the last thing we want to do.
  4. Bring the shot glass to your nose and slowly break the suction (it is best you only break the seal by removing part of your hand from the top of the glass). Then here comes the freebasing part! After breaking the seal you’ll want to inhale that alcohol vapor the flame produced. Sip or actually just shoot the shot and enjoy.

Neat

Yes, you can drink absinthe neat, but it doesn’t really make sense to. Part of the point of drinking absinthe is creating that louche effect that gives it that vibrancy. It would be like drinking tea and honey without any water. So, yes, you can drink it neat, but why not light it on fire while doing it.

Absinthe Cocktails

I’ll leave this one for you to figure out, you can easily add the word cocktails from your previous “absinthe” search. There’s everything from absinthe lemonades, the Sazerac, and even absinthe martinis.

However, one of the most famous absinthe cocktails is known as “Death in the Afternoon.” The prolific author Ernest Hemmingway who created the cocktail provides us with the how-to:

“Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

Good luck stopping at drinking three to five of these “slowly”.

Once you’ve found your method of absinthe drinking you automatically take one step closer to being certified as a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur. But, hey before you start spitting up fireballs of absinthe let me give you some insights on how absinthe really makes you feel.  

Effects

The famous writer Oscar Wilde was also quite the absinthe drinker himself. He had a sardonic outlook on the effects of drinking absinthe:

After the first glass of absinthe, you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.

The above unfortunately rings true for me for reasons much different than Oscar had intended…

But before I get into that… I would also like to add two phases when drinking that smooth black licorice-tasting liquid. The first being a pleasant intoxication, it’s weird.  Absinthe initially seems to just take you gently by the hand and walk with you pleasantly by the ocean, where you and absinthe are just skipping rocks with one another. And then the second phase hits, and this where absinthe grabs you by the wrist and turns you around from skipping your perfectly smooth rocks to reveal… that you are in the middle of spring break. Shit is popping off, and you’re fucking wasted out of nowhere, and what else is there to do but embrace the drunk.

Now, my college days are far behind me, and I would claim I have become a much more professional and “mature” drunk so to speak. But, back in the day me and two of my buddies wanted to head up near the woodlands of Bellingham for a little cabin bro-down.

Jeff had those “cool parents” who made booze runs across the border. They asked us if we had any requests for our trip, and we of course said absinthe. They smuggled the emerald elixir across the border for us. When they placed the bottle into our hands it was like we were Frodo holding the ring, little did we know we would end up like Gollum. Jeff’s dad asked us to let him know if we see the green fairy… I was determined.

Anyways, we pull up to the cabin and placed the bottle of absinthe in the middle of the table. We had this little dice game known as the “Die of Life”. You either guessed odd or even and you roll the die if you guessed correctly then you’re safe, if you guessed wrong you take a shot.

There were three of us. Our goal… to see the green fairy.

We played about 10 rounds and let’s just say we had merely a momentary glimpse of the “pleasant” intoxication phase until the ripcord of excessive drunkenness took over. Now, I think if you’re gonna be an asshole when you’re drinking you might as well do it in the middle of nowhere… it’s called respect.

Anyways, we all had a pact that we wouldn’t leave the place, and we actually locked the door so none of us could get out (logical thinking at its finest). We all had passed out, and I had awoken in that drunken stupor of where time doesn’t exist (I didn’t know if it was dawn or dusk). I looked out the window and saw two deer just staring through my soul. They looked like they were trying to tell me something, and I believed they had the answer to where the green fairy was. I knew this was my moment to finally capture that green fay.

I opened the window and was going to escape. I needed to. But I realized I couldn’t fit out the window. So, I problem-solved. I knew my other buddy Dustin always had a container of Vaseline (everyone knows someone like this…). I had found him passed out and didn’t want to bother him, plus his Vaseline was just sitting there perfectly on his backpack. I snagged it.

I tip-toed to the window. The two deer were still there staring at me, waiting for me to get out and to be led to the green fairy (I even thought about how difficult it would be to ride one of them). I took off all my clothes and began coating my arms, upper body and my face (for some reason) in the lubricant. It was showtime, baby.

I moved like a stealthy Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible and began my escape. One of the things I regret was not checking how high the window was off the ground, and… I guess it was just one of the many fatal errors I made. I stuck my arms and head out first, and then used the wall to push the rest of me out. I flew out of that window like a bar of soap, and came crashing down on both my wrists breaking them both, and my consciousness came to a halt when my face hit the floor (instead of alcohol it was a concussion this time around). Needless to say, our cabin bro-down came to a crashing halt, and luckily Jeff’s parents came to our rescue. I apparently apologized to Jeff’s dad for not be able to see the green fairy…

So, when you do drink absinthe be careful, it goes down as easy as lubed up grown-ass man out of a window… But remember, absinthe will affect everyone differently… 

Summary

Wow. That brings us to the end of this tale on absinthe, which means I officially can now grant you the certificate of becoming a self-proclaimed absinthe connoisseur. Congrats, you now know more about absinthe than anyone in your (presumably small) friend group! We’ve covered the rise and fall and re-rise of absinthe, and in the process were able to bust a couple of myths about the emerald muse. I also provided you with some of the methods I’ve ingested absinthe, and hopefully this will propel you in finding your method to imbibe the jadeite medicine. Oh, and lastly, I gave you a rundown on what to expect when drinking absinthe (but you’re gonna have to figure out the effects on your own).

This is also the part of the article where I hope to collect your voluntary tuition for that certificate. Don’t worry you don’t have to pay anything, rather if you subscribed to our newsletter your tuition would be paid in full (wow, what a deal). Anyways, I gotta get out of here because Death in the Afternoon is on the horizon… Cheers.

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