March 5, 2013

National Absinthe Day

"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." - Oscar Wilde

It's National Absinthe Day!

Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit. While it originated in Switzerland in the late 1700's, it became incredibly popular among artists (including writers) in the 19th and 20th centuries around Paris. Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, and Vincent van Gogh were all friends with la fée verte (the green fairy), which got it's nickname from the trace amounts of thujone - an addictive drug - that used to be present in it and allegedly had hallucinogenic effects (like, y'know, seeing fairies). In the early 1900's, absinthe was banned in the U.S. and parts of Europe because of this. In 2007, Amur-KAH lifted its century old ban on it, as long as it didn't contain any thujone.

Still, absinthe has a reputation. And knowing this - the illicitness of this particular booze - when I stopped at the liquor store to stock up, I found an employee and discreetly asked, "Do you carry absinthe?"

"What's that?" He asked loudly.

"Absinthe. Do you carry absinthe?" I looked around nervously expecting someone from the ATF to jump out from behind the shelves at any minute and cuff me. I knew that this transaction had to be sneaky-sneaky because of the rep absinthe had.

"Of course we do," the man answered nonchalantly leading me to the area where it was located.

"Oh. Seriously?" I perked back up as I followed him. "I just thought... you know... like... it's ABSINTHE, so...Oscar Wilde... and... fairies... and... y'know, it's ABSINTHE!"

He picked up a bottle and handed it to me. "This is really not a big deal."

So much for that.

I always thought I would love absinthe. After all, I'm a writer. I'm a bit of a hermit. And I like drinking. Shouldn't absinthe be, like, my thing? But no. No no, no no. Absinthe tastes nothing like I was anticipating it would. Despite reading over and over again (and writing - go ahead and take a look that second sentence I wrote) that it's an anise-flavored spirit, I just wasn't expecting the incredibly potent licorice taste it had. And I really... really... loathe licorice, so that shot did not go down easy. As a matter of fact, I even did the twitchy "THISTASTESSOGROSSIDONTTHINKICANSWALLOW" dance. Whatever am I going to do with an enormous bottle of this stuff?

I was trying to look sexy, but I think I just look
like a Tinkerbell after a long night of partying.

Happy National Absinthe Day!