Ever since Speedy first heard about Absinthe many years ago, he’s been curious about it. And the fact that it is banned in some countries made him even more curious.
Absinthe? Yes, the spirit (not liqueur because it isn’t bottled with sugar) that reputedly made men commit violent crimes. Some said it caused hallucinations worse than one gets from LSD. All exaggerations, of course. Any alcohol can cause inebriation and clouding of the mind if taken in large quantities. What isn’t exaggerated is the high alcohol content of Absinthe which can be anywhere from 45% to 74%.
There are many tales about Absinthe, many associated with “Bohemian” artists, each tale more colorful than the last. Some say it was originally a medicine, a cure for malaria, and there’s even one claim that it was given as medicine to children with a dose of honey to make it drinkable. For a long time, Absinthe was something we talked about with friends over dinner. An object of curiosity that generated interest and elicited shocked reactions depending on who we were talking to.
Then, last year, a few days before my birthday, I mentioned Absinthe on Twitter and on Facebook. Speedy, who was downstairs, read my post. He came up to my study with a bottle of Absinthe, two glasses, the absinthe spoon and sugar. I didn’t even know we had a bottle of Absinthe in the house.
Traditionally, a spoon is placed over the glass, a sugar cube is placed on the spoon and iced water is poured ever so slowly on the sugar so that it melts and the sweetened water falls into the Absinthe in the glass. The clear Absinthe turns cloudy — the process called “blossoming” which releases the flavors of the anise, fennel and star anise in it.
But that day that Speedy brought up the bottle of Absinthe to my study, we didn’t have sugar cubes. Did that stop us from christening the bottle of Absinthe? Of course not.
Speedy poured Absinthe into glasses…
… put some table sugar on the Absinthe spoon…
… poured iced water over the sugar…
… and voila!
Did I hallucinate?
I had an adrenalin rush. I wrote. Fast and furious. Curious, really, since most alcoholic drinks are depressants.
Three months later, we had a party in the house with Speedy’s siblings and their families as guests, and the star of the party was three bottles of Absinthe. In addition to the food, the margarita, the mojito, the beer and the wine, of course. It turned out that Speedy’s brothers were just as curious as he once was. Now that we’ve all tried it, we can safely say that the tales have been much too exaggerated. No hallucinations, no violence, no debauchery. If you know how to drink and you know when to stop. Of course.
And that was the last time I drank Absinthe. Speedy hasn’t bought a new bottle. Darn expensive stuff. :razz: