Absinthe (image via liquor.com)
“Absinthe is a liquor that they outlawed because it’s supposed to make you trip hallucinogenically. So, I got excited because I like to hallucinate. So, I started drinking lots of shots of it. But, really, it’s just a liquor. So, I was just getting fucked up… I wasn’t even remotely tripping. But, after 10 shots, I fell to the ground and tried to force the trip. “WHY IS THE FLOOR AS LOW AS I CAN GO!?”. But, I was just faking it, ya know? It wasn’t a from the heart trip.” -Mitch Hedberg.
I recently read about an absinthe-related store opening up in Kansas City. It got me thinking about my past experiences with absinthe.
Actual absinthe was outlawed in the US until 2007. However, absinthe has been popular in New Orleans for years. Both the versions you can find in the United States and the harder-hitting varieties from overseas seem to do well in NOLA.
My first time drinking absinthe was at the now closed, kitschy, Russian-themed bar Pravda. Surrounded by the faux Soviet Era relics adorning the red walls, I bought some absinthe for $15 a glass. The melting of the sugar cube through the slotted spoon looked like some weird drug making workshop. It has a strong anise tone and packs quite a punch.
The touristy Pirate’s Alley Cafe, tucked in the French Quarter’s Pirate’s Alley, also features a few quality absinthe varieties. One night, the bar was packed to the maximum. Unbeknownst to me, there was a pirate convention in town. The tiny bar was overflowing with pirates hunting for booty. They were a surly bunch for sure.
The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, in Kansas City, serves absinthe. It seemed like the real deal. I ended up missing my bus because I fell through the worm hole.
It’s important to remember that absinthe has pros and cons. Your paintings will look better and really pop. However, you could lob your ear off. If you see Tahitian colors on the back of your eyelids, you might drink too much absinthe. It’s interesting to see absinthe get big again in trendy circles. Whether it is hip or not, absinthe is guaranteed to leave a strong impression on you.