Trying Absinthe

Absinthe’s making a comeback.  The anise-flavored, highly alcoholic spirit — once thought to provoke psychosis and hallucinations — was banned in the United States in 1912.  Took almost 100 years, but now it’s back, having been made legal in 2007.  If you enjoy the flavor of black licorice, then absinthe’s for you.

Had my first taste of it tonight at Pour Cafe & Wine Bar and liked it quite a bit. (No hallucinations either!) The fun is in the presentation ritual, called La Louche:

First, absinthe is poured into a glass.  The absinthe spoon is laid across the top of the glass, and a cube of sugar is placed on the spoon.  Then ice-cold water is poured through a funnel into the glass, dissolving the sugar and diluting the absinthe. (Good thing too — this absinthe was 136 proof.  I would have been on the floor after one sip.)  The ice water also transforms the color of the mixture into a milky green, and that transformation is called the “louche.”

I got the presentation on camera, but dropped the audio out, because my inane yammering was really annoying.  So you’ll just have to imagine the sound of that little spout flipping back and forth with a tic tic tic tic tic tic…

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