Absinthe: the review

170px-absinthe-glass


As I wrote some months ago, I bought an adorable little bottle of absinthe some months ago. It was called “Le tourment vert,” and it held about three ounces of what I hoped would be the authentic Green Fairy. (I’m a big fan of fin-de-siecle Paris, and wanted to find out more about what exactly Rimbaud and Verlaine and Debussy and Satie and Picabia and Apollinaire were slugging down all that time.) I even bought a box of designer sugar-cubes to prepare for the Big Moment (you’ll understand why after a bit).

 

 

But I waited for a special occasion to drink my absinthe.

 

 

Well, what’s more special than a hurricane?

 

 

The hurricane came and went. It was, apart from a hiccup in our electricity, a big nothing. I mostly napped through it. As evening fell, I remembered my little bottle of Tourment Vert, and decided that this was, in a word, le moment de verite.

 

 

I looked up the instructions online: one part absinthe to five parts cold water. No ice in the drink. Absinthe in the glass first; the water is to be dripped slowly into the glass, preferably through a sugar cube held in a special slotted absinthe spoon.

 

 

I did not invest in an absinthe spoon. Maybe when Partner and I tie the knot, I’ll put it on the wedding registry. I used a salad fork. I did pay almost seven dollars for those bloody designer sugar cubes, though.

 

 

Absinthe is green. When you add water, it becomes cloudy – as we Francophones say, “louche.” This did in fact happen as I dripped the water over the sugar cube / salad fork. Aha! Paris 1919, here I come!

 

 

I took a sip. I’d been warned that the stuff was bitter, which was the reason for the sugar. It was not at all bitter, or only slightly so. The sugar was a pleasant addition. But the absinthe itself –

 

 

It tasted just like Pernod.

 

 

Aha.

 

 

They can’t make this stuff like they used to, full of wormwood-based toxins. So they make a green-colored simulacrum and flavor it with anise, which – of course – turns cloudy when you add water to it.

 

 

Well, that was a third of the (tiny) bottle. Time for another experiment: this time I tried flaming the sugar-cube and dropping it into the absinthe. No luck; the absinthe was (supposedly) 100 proof, but it wouldn’t catch fire. I did a sort of creme-brulee thing with the sugar-cube and stirred it into the absinthe, and dripped some water in, and –

 

 

Well, what do you know? A nice warm feeling was creeping over me. Not like regular inebriation this time. Sort of a warm universal benevolence. I was getting very French by this time, and my Mallarme was coming back to me: “Une belle ivresse m’engage, o mes divers / amis . . .

 

 

Yeah, whatever.

 

 

Just a little left in the bottle. Back to Method #1, with the salad fork; I was more skillful at it this time, and the sugar dissolved more quickly. The flavor wasn’t unpleasant.

 

 

But now I was getting a headache.

 

 

I drink with some regularity, and I know the various phases of inebriation. And normally I do not get a headache after three rather small drinks.

 

 

Evidently there’s some thujone in this stuff after all.

 

 

Morning after: head throbbing like the sound of car-horns in the streets of Montmartre.

 

 

Memo to myself: Forget “Le Tourment vert.” Buy a better brand of absinthe.

 


 

Advertisements

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: