Savoir Faire : ABSINTHE
Illustrations by the supremely talented Johanna Olk
“LET ME BE MAD, THEN, BY ALL MEANS! MAD WITH THE MADNESS OF ABSINTHE, THE WILDEST, MOST LUXURIOUS MADNESS IN THE WORLD!
VIVE LA FOLIE! VIVE L'AMOUR! VIVE L'ANIMALISME! VIVE LE DIABLE!”
~ Marie Corelli
The Green Fairy. L'atroce sorcière. The Green Deity. It all started for us in a bar called Marsella. Frequented by Hemingway, it lies in a slightly sketchy but still debaucherous barrio of Barcelona. It exclusively serves Absinthe and we lost our minds. And apparently in very good company. From Van Gough, Oscar Wilde, Baudelaire, Verlaine, to Marilyn Manson are all huge advocates of the green fairy and it's hallucinogenic properties.
There's a few venues we would recommend to achieve such hedonism; La Fée Verte and Chez Janou in Paris, The Bonneville in London, The Absinth Depot and Lauschangriff in Berlin. Without further ado, let's proceed....
Très important is the Pontarlier Glass, named after the French town which played host to the first Absinthe distillery. It hosts a cunning little bowl to ensure you pour the exact right amount of absinthe into the glass. This glass held in-between thumb and forefinger is key to the level of Moulin Rouge revelry we are in the process of attaining.
Position your fork, or ideally "Abinsthe Spoon" over the glass. If needs must a teaspoon will suffice, or anythign that will support a sugar cube over the glass, but this may be frowned upon by purists - We did warn you. Gingerly place a sugar cube on top of the spoon. Mantain a vacant look, and loosen top button. You are Piscasso in Paris. You are Lucian Freud in Soho. Try and look accordingly.
Pour ice cold water with the most extreme of caution onto the sugar cube. Gaze into the vortext that is the sugary water mixing with the Absinthe creating a milky effect. This is called the Louche effect (French for Opaque). The sugar is to contradict the highly bitter taste of the Wormwood that is prevalent in Absinthe
Stir in the sugar, ensure that that the louche effect is in full swing. Have a sip and add more sugar cubes and water as you deem necessary.
Enjoy Multiples of the above (above three is highly commendable) but heed the words of Oscar Wilde
“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"