On Absinthe…

I received my bottle of Lucid via UPS on Monday afternoon… After waiting for Jean to get home, we worked our way into the kitchen and began the “ritual” of la louche’.

Not having ANY of the absinthe specific tools, we had to improvise as best we could. We found two wine glasses which would work. I then “macgyvered” a slotted spoon by using the top of a salt-shaker (washed of course!) and banding it between two chop-sticks so it would sit on the rim of the glasses without having to use two hands to hold and pour.

I poured about a jigger’s worth of absinthe into the glass, and then retrieved the iced water from the counter. Placing a sugar cube in the salt-shaker top, I proceeded to pour the water -very slowly- over the cube to dissolve it with as little water as possible.

The green, yet crystal clear absinthe liquor began its change into the green fairy. With the slightest addition of ice cold water and sugar, the liquor clouded up perfectly into a mint-green glass of happiness.

Ah, now it was time for the first taste….

The initial hit is of anise, which mellows into a nice mild sweetness of sage, though the anise sticks around for the whole story to unfold. Unfortunately, the first glass was a bit too watery, as I seemingly overdid the ice water and under did the liquor. So, after consuming the first glass with only very mild effects, we ate dinner and came back a few hours later to pour out a second try.

This time, my ratio was dead on. I only eyeballed the liquor when pouring rather than accurately measuring, so I am unclear as to how much I actually used. We’ll say it was a good solid 2 shots. I la louche’d with less water than previously used, stopping when the look of the drink appeared “right”. (Knowing what “watery” looked like made this second attempt much easier.)

At first sip I realized that THIS is what the first drink should have tasted like. Much more potent, the only way I can find to accurately describe the flavour to someone who hasn’t tried it is:
Consider taking a handful of licorice Altoids, add some small pinches of sage, and add water to taste. The flavours which come out are a slightly minty, heavily anised herbiness cut so slightly by the sweetness of the sugar cube and, of course, the added water.

Halfway into the second glass, I found that the effects of the drink were a bit… different. The buzz was more of the stimulant variety than the depressant commonly associated with alcohol. Both Jean and I found more of a crispness and clarity to the buzz, in direct contrast to the fuzziness typically encountered with whiskies or other liquors. No hallucinations were encountered, though in our defense 2 glasses over the course of 4 hours isn’t exactly conducive to experience the heavy effects of ANY drink. I can, however, see how imbibing a bit more may push some of the other effects to the fore-front of the experience.

It should also be noted here that Lucid is indeed produced using the higher quality of wormwood available (Grande if memory serves) and as such the drink does contain low levels of thujone, the presumably “active” ingredient which is also found in sage and rosemary.

Moreover, I can absolutely see how this particular drink could and SHOULD be experienced in a social atmosphere. The ritual aspect alone demands an audience. One can almost envision themselves sitting in a dark café’ or pub in the alley-ways of France, sipping the green fairy, and just watching the world go by. Though, don’t be mistaken; even merely people watching is not a solo endeavor, but rather an experience to share with all your friends!

So, take this for what it is worth from a 3DC member… if you ever have the opportunity to imbibe in the Green Fairy…. Jump at the chance. You will not regret it.

7 thoughts on “On Absinthe…

  1. Thanks for this post. Being that I live with a man who’s straight-edge, and most of my friends are non-drinkers or did their stint as heavy imbibers in high school or college, it’s not that often that I’m exposed to alcohol. I really enjoy getting educated about the experience through your drinking accounts, which remind me that consuming alcohol is about more than just getting shit-faced out of boredom (although I think there’s a time and a place for that when done sparingly), or finding a crutch to combat social anxiety. If you and Jean ever happen to make your way to Chicago, I would love to have the honor of sharing liquor in your company.

    1. I am sure we will make it out to Chicago at some point. I have only visited once as a child/teen and would love to see the city again through my decidedly different eyes now.

      That being said, if we are ever in the area you can be certain that we will look you up and share a drink or two 🙂

      For some reason I never got into the “party” scene where drinking to get plastered was the point. Mind you I _HAVE_ done that, but those times are few and far between. For me, and I think I speak for all of my friends on this one, I am a social drinker who enjoys the dynamic in the group and how it changes and loosens us up, and ESPECIALLY when the drink is outstandingly good! I guess that’s why the 3 Drunken Celts are such a pivotal part of my life; its really not about the drink, but rather about the friends… the drink is just a nice excuse 🙂

  2. Ooh, fun! I had absinthe once and expected to see green fairies and didn’t, though I did feel remarkably sharp, like my vision was super-clear. I’m glad to know I wasn’t psychosomating myself! (is that a word?)

    1. Not sure it is a word, but it works for me 🙂
      Glad to hear that my experience combine with Jean’s had some validity as well. It is odd when you start second guessing your own reactions/experiences with things… the clarity was odd for me coming from a liquor; totally not what I am used to!

    2. I’d started knitting after I had my “dose” of absinthe, and I realized two things – I was knitting very, very slowly, and I could see every little pore and hair on my knuckles. It was very weird, and I thought I was just imagining things too, so I’m glad to know I wasn’t alone!

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