A Post on Absinthe

So I read this article yesterday, on Serious Eats, about how now that absinthe is once again legal in the states people are quickly becoming disinterestd in the liquor.  Kind of sad me thinks.  Sad because I think it is a good example of how a misconception can create unnecessary hype, and how the truth can ultimately ruin something because of the preceding misconception.  In this case the misconception being that absinthe can make you hallucinate.  It can’t.  As such, as many Americans are likely asking, “why the fuck would I want to drink it?”  Especially considering the strange, if not unpleasant to some, anise flavor.

Well, let me tell you why you would want to drink it, assuming that you don’t mind the anise flavor that is.  And it isn’t to get drunk (though that always works too).  I suggest that one might want to drink some absinthe because in all actuality it is really tasty (again, this is considering that you don’t mind the licorice-like flavor of anise).

My friend Paivi brought me back a bottle of Absinthe from Paris, when she was in Europe a few months back.  It is a French absinthe by Plantes & Saveurs.  Honestly I do not know how good it is in comparison of other absinthes (it does have an awesome box which it came in though) but I really like it.  First off I don’t mind anise flavor at all, in fact I quite like it.  I am fond of both pastis and ouzo, both of which have strong anise flavor (I first tried ouzo my junior year in college after having read about it in a novel I was reading at the time.  Pastis is a drink I have more recently taken a liking to).  Part of what I like about the absinthe (and in like fashion the pastis and ouzo) is that it is one of the few liquors I don’t mind drinking straight, or with just a little water or ice; most everything else at least gets some soda in it (preferable coke or ginger ale).  As an aperitif absinthe makes for a good sipping drink, which challenges you to really find the other flavors hidden beneath the anise (especially the wormwood and other herbs).  Absinthe does not strike me as a type of alcohol that I would like to get tanked on (that is for beer or Beam and Coke) as I can imagine it giving a pretty nasty hangover.  But I do find it pleasant in a small glass before or after dinner, with a little cold water or a cube or two of ice.  I don’t prescribe to the proper absinthe pouring style, partially because I don’t have the spoon, but furthermore because I think it is unnecessary.  Drinking should be kept as simple as possible in my opinion, and a small glass, absinthe, and a little water or ice seems as simple as can be.

Part of the problem with Americans (and this is going to be a general statement, knowing full well that not every American falls into this category) is that we all too often want the quick and cheap fix to our cravings.  As such, seeking the quality of flavor in a liquor all too often takes back seat to just getting a drink in our guts.  Now obviously not everybody in the States is like this, but, not being out of college all too long, I know that a lot of people definitely are.  Not too long before when I first tried ouzo, I had started  to pursue, with a high degree of insistence, better beers than the cheap domestic brands available (prior to this I had drank an unreasonable and shameful amount of Keystone Light, fucking nasty shit I tell ya).  I now am a bit of a beer snob and find it really hard to drink any cheap domestic (though I do occasionally find myself drinking a Miller High Life or a PBR).  My pursuit of quality liquor has been a little slower.  Obviously I like the anise flavored stuff.  I am also pretty partial to Jameson.  Beyond that it is kind of an open book for which I still have a lot to learn.  I hope someday to be able to enjoy particular liquors as much as I enjoy particular beers, but that day is probably still a long time coming.  But till then, I can always settle on a small glass of absinthe which is now readily available in the US.  Good times.

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~ by Nathaniel on January 30, 2009.

3 Responses to “A Post on Absinthe”

  1. The lower demand upon legalization begs the question would this work for some, if not all, drugs as well?

    I doubt that’s the case because the demand for alcohol in general hasn’t been lowered, just in this odd tasting style of alcohol but it at least raises the questions

  2. We’ve got a bottle of absinthe on the shelf at the house and haven’t found the right time to crack it open. It’s probably not for me, as I consider anise a few notches below dirt on my palate scale. I’m willing to give it a shot for posterity, as long as I have a Stone Ruination IPA chaser ready to go.

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