A Proper Absinthe is totally unlike a Proper Tea

Few things are more decadent than settling down about 3pm to a meal dedicated to indulgence. That is Afternoon Tea – this is according to apropertea.wordpress.

Drinking a good Absinthe properly prepared is every bit as decadent, but unlike a Proper Tea, it seems just a little bit, well, on the fringes–think Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, and so on.

Maybe the only commonality is that you should not swish the liquid around in your mouth like a mouthwash before swallowing.But, no one ever listens to me, so go on and try it.  The Absinthe will leave you coughing and in need of water if you do this.  A good tea is just wasted, even though the pain will not be there.

A Proper Tea in in the afternoon.  A Proper Absinthe is an evening type of thing.

For ideas on the tea, see the link above.

For Absinthe, the following is recommended:

Talk to someone who knows Absinthe really well–preferably someone who has tried a dozen or more brands. The differences between the various Absinthes is more like the difference between Gin and Bourbon than between individual varieties of Gin or Bourbon. Some, like La Fee are heavy on the Anise (licorice flavor).  Others, like Mata Hari have almost no anise, and yet others, like St George, are heavily fennel. The best way to try it would be to go to the house of your knowledgeable friend because he or she probably knows what they are doing, and will enjoy telling you things about them, but mainly because you might be drinking their bottle and saving a wad of cash.

Ok, while there are innumerable cocktails to make with Absinthe, every devotee of Absinthe enjoys it classicly most of the time because, well, let’s face it, if you are going to buy this stuff frequently, you need to like the taste because otherwise, it is just too expensive ( three or four times a typical 80-proof bottle of Wild Turkey).

Dim lights. Good music on (I really like the soundtrack to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or some Chopin, but whatever works, well, works.)

If you have an Absinthe glass, fill the bubble at the bottom with Absinthe.  If you do not have one, about and ounce and a half  (typical shot).

Then, if you have access to an Absinthe fountain filled with iced water, place the glasses under each spout, place an Absinthe spoon across the lips of the glass, place a sugar cube on it and slowly let the water drip onto the cube and into the glass. Watch the tendrils form in the green liquid and watch and talk with your friend and watch the tendrils and then when the louche occurs, it will turn opalescent.  Turn off the water, stir the liquid with the spoon and sip. (I do not use the sugar often because I like it without the sweetness; newbies will probably want the sugar).

Will you see the green fairy? Hallucinate? Well, not on one glass anyway.

Oscar Wilde described drinking Absinthe as follows:

What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?”

“The first stage is like ordinary drinking, the second when you begin to see monstrous and cruel things,” wrote Oscar Wilde of absinthe, “But if you can persevere you will enter in upon the third stage where your see things that you want to see.”

“Absinthe has a wonderful color, green. A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world.”

Yes, it was illegal for almost a century, but not because of hallucinations, but because it began to outsell wine in France, which wold be like Lawn Tennis replacing Football on Sundays.

2 thoughts on “A Proper Absinthe is totally unlike a Proper Tea

  1. I’m perplexed by your closing analogy. Lawn Tennis is, in fact, the same game as traditional tennis, it just started out being referred to in this manner because grass was the only available surface to play on before the advent of the “traditional” hard and clay courts. Since Wimbledon, the oldest and greatest (some bias here) of the four Grand Slam majors, is still played on grass with a maximum of pomp and circumstance and revery for tradition (white being the only color competitors may wear, on court sponsorship limited to the Rolex time keeper/scoreboard and having strawberries and cream as the only dessert available to patrons), wouldn’t absinthe replacing wine in France be more akin to polo replacing tennis in England? Both fine beverages, and true gentlemen’s sports to match. I should think that tennis overtaking football as the de rigueur sport in American culture would be more along the lines of a fine port becoming more popular here than a can of Bud Light.

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