Friday, August 29, 2008

Absinthe

This was an "article" in our wedding zine. Instead of the usual champagne toast, we decided to have an absinthe toast instead. The wedding was on June 21, which is Summer Solstice, Midsummer… =Midsummer Night's Dream=Faeries=Green Faeries=ABSINTHE! Yeah, we're nerds. So we had special glasses made emblazoned with a seven-pointed faerie star (see below). And we went and bought a case of Lucid absinthe. Lucid, I learned from all the absinthe nerd message boards, is the only American absinthe that kind of sort of comes close to the real shit. The nerds didn't want to give it a thumbs up because they only drink the hardcore euro shit (in case you missed the sarcasm, there is nothing hardcore about Europe or absinthe), but they reluctantly said that it was "okay." And it was. Unlike "Le Tourment Vert" which some fucker at Bevmo tricked me into buying before I learned about Lucid. He said, "This is what everyone is drinking in the clubs in Vegas." (Not sure why I fell for that line, because there's nothing more despicable than the scum that frequent clubs in Vegas.) I love the bottle and the packaging, but it looks and tastes like Scope. The absinthe nerds laughed at it on the message boards. Don't buy this crap:


Anyway, everyone enjoyed the absinthe at the wedding. But, as you'll read below, don't bother with it. It's bullshit.



They call her “The Green Faerie.” She’s guided artists down some very strange paths. She’s made them cut off their ears. It’s fabulous stuff, this absinthe. So fabulous that it’s been illegal in the US since 1902. “STAY AWAY FROM THE ABSINTHE!” “IT MAKES YOU GO CRAZY!” “THAT STUFF IS GNARLY!”

No it’s not. Apparently it’s legal to buy absinthe in the US (I bought this stuff at Bevmo)? The FDA lifted the ban or something?—I don’t know, and I don’t care—because it’s just not worth it. I know, because Tania and I went on an absinthe “bender” a few years ago trying to find this so called Green Faerie. The Green Faerie, it turns out, was my dollar bills flitting through the air and flying over the Atlantic to Europe where they make this crap.

Okay, okay, it’s not that bad. We like absinthe. And we love the Green Faerie myth. But it’s like going to Disneyland: it’s really fun and totally awesome, but in the end, it’s total bullshit. Also, like Disneyland, absinthe is very expensive.

That said, let me tell you about our brief absinthe “bender.”

We wanted to experience this Green Faerie hallucination thing we’ve all read about. “Hey, we’re artists!” So we ordered a $70 bottle from Europe. I think it was from the Czech republic? Doesn’t matter. All of the bottles we ordered came from Europe and they all cost an arm and a leg. We got it, we did the little ritual, we poured water over a cube of sugar into a glass of the stuff, and we drank it… and nothing happened. So we did it again. And again. It wasn’t bad. At first. But after a dozen or so glasses we were like, “What the shit?” Drunk, but no green faeries.

“Perhaps we’re not getting the real stuff?” we wondered. Every website that sells the stuff claims they have the real thing. (Clue #1: pervasive insistence upon authenticity equals BULLSHIT!) “We have the real amount of wormwood, we have all the thrujol in the world! All other absinthes are imitations!” Yeah, yeah, yeah (look it up). We ordered bottle after expensive bottle and we got nothing but hangovers and licorice coated throats. And after extensive testing, our verdict was: BULLSHIT.

Absinthe is a novelty drink. You want to get drunk? Go buy a pint of Jim Beam. You want to get high? I’ve heard there’s ways of doing that too for a lot cheaper… none of which, of course, I know of firsthand, but I heard of a couple…

In conclusion (high school report), whatever they were drinking back in the day is not what’s available now. Either those dudes couldn’t handle their alcohol, or they were smokin’ crack. Or maybe it was crack? My suspicion is that the hallucinations weren’t caused by the ingredients so much as the bathtub-gin conditions in which it was being made.

The reason you’re drinking absinthe at our wedding is because it was a part of Tania’s and my life for a brief time. And, more importantly, it’s a symbol of art and faeriedom. So raise your glass to the Green Faerie! TO ART! HAIL THE GREEN FAERIE! She’s real—she’s all around you right now—it’s the drink that’s not.



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