Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Product review: Absinthe
Ahhh, The Green Fairy, Absinthe. The drink of choice of yr. better romantic poets and impressionist painters (Van Gogh was notably a fan, as well as Oscar Wilde and Aleister Crowley), Absinthe has been illegal pretty much forever due to its alleged (ahem ahem) hallucinogenic properties, as well as its supposed ties to "rheumatism, the gout, epilepsy" and god knows how many other things we now know are caused by anything but drinking Absinthe.
In a rare moment of clarity, the US Government has apparently seen the light and made this wondrous drink legal again, and lo and behold, the Snake Pit, my Neighborhood Bar, has seen fit to not only stock it but feature it. Miss Cody had already sung its praises from the streets of Olde New Orleans, so Trix and I figured we'd be the bold experimenters last night.
Pretty much the entire bar was afraid to try the stuff, so they all sat and watched us, expecting us to start screaming that the bats were coming for us, but that didn't happen. The bartenders did it right -- dropping water from a rather Victorian-looking contraption through a sugar cube to turn the concoction cloudy. We downed the black-licorice-tasting beverage quickly (because, y'know, who the hell likes black licorice?) -- then another -- then waited for the effect.
Wikipedia would have you believe that the hallucinogenic properties are nonexistent, and I can tell you that is not the case, though they have no doubt been exaggerated by legend and lore -- neither of us had any desire to cut our ear off and mail it to an old flame, that's for sure. However: it is definitely different than the effects of plain old alcohol. We were both consumed by what we could only describe as a profound "warm, tingly" sensation. We were definitely more lucid than if we'd pounded, say, two shots of fine aged Scotch, which was intriguing -- intoxication with a modicum of lucidity. And yes, there were definitely visual effects -- not like the full-blown hallucinogenic effects of LSD, say, but a very intriguing sparkle over everything.
We had what I would describe as a "reasonable" amount of the stuff -- I'm intrigued to see what would happen if we pounded, say, four shots of it or something, whether the effects would be heightened or whether we'd just get drunk and pass out. Hm.