Will you see a green fairy?

Bad-ass would not be a word used to describe me. But that’s exactly how I felt entering the very cool Paris restaurant, L’Absinthe. Wasn’t this stuff illegal – an addictive hallucinogenic? Could I enjoy great inspiration as did other famous absinthe drinkers like Hemingway, Wilde, Toulouse-Latrec and Van Gogh?!

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After the best meal that I had during a 10 day stay in the city (soft shell deep fried crab, and a vegetarian pizza), I asked our server (en français) if they served absinthe.

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“BIEN SUR!”, and he brought out the absinthe menu. Lengthier than the food menu, the booklet had pages of descriptions of various brands. (I had an english menu.) I was able to discern one that claimed to be an original variety, and that’s what I wanted; the real stuff, not a reasonable facsimile.  But upon ordering it, I was dissuaded by the server who had ascertained that I was a first-timer and politely suggested another.

Splendid service at Absinthe, Parishungryroad_absinthe-4

Who was I to argue and I happily agreed with his recommendation. One of my five companions dared to order another brand from the menu.

Put this experience on your bucket list! The whole service production was something else. The green coloured alcohol, also known as the Green Fairy, was brought in a medium sized goblet. On top of the glass was a silver slotted utensil which held a lump of sugar. Accompanying this was a tall glass iced water tower that was placed with the spigot above the sugar. The addition of drops of water through the sugar, dilutes and sweetens the absinthe to taste. What fun! And I loved the flavour; delicious and reminiscent of greek ouzo to me, like licorice. I sampled the other absinthe at the table which had a much more woodsy taste. I liked mine better.

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“You have to try this”, and my friends conceded to small sips, thus lessening my chances of any wild pas de deux with an emerald winged creature. I would have ordered another, YOLO, but c’est la vie it was time to go.

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The whole green fairy thing and stories of absinthe consumers being driven to suicide was what continues to be a hugely successful marketing campaign (and perhaps some poor historical distillation techniques).

Evidence of exaggerations allowed this still potent product to be legalized in the 1990’s in many countries that had banned it.  It wasn’t until 2007 that the U.S.  lifted the ban but brands sold there must be thujone free. The history of absinthe is entirely fascinating and if you are interested I recommend that you read more about that here.

Have you ever tried absinthe?  What was your experience?

 

 

Note:  I have so much more to say about this Paris trip which I’ll get to soon.  It was led by the utterly beautiful Noelle Cellini, (shown taking one elegant little sip), a fabulous stylist that I found online who leads shopping trips for women to places like Paris, Chicago, New York, Milan and Lake Como. I took this trip with my sister, joining three other women and Noelle. I subscribe to her wonderful online style courses.  Read more about her business here.