Sunday, July 6, 2008

The green fairy

Happy holiday weekend everyone! I hope yours was fun, safe, and not too stressful. And hey, it's always good to remember why we're celebrating.

Me? I had a lovely weekend, full of bike rides and seeing good friends and, as fate would have it, learning how to drink absinthe.

Since absinthe (minus the thujone) has legally come back to the United States, all the "cool kids" have been scrambling to get their hands on some. This, apparently, included some friends of mine, who busted out their evil green bottle at a gathering this weekend. I was implored to document the occasion with my camera, and you can see the results here.

Basically, absinthe tastes a bit like ouzo, but it depends on what part of the glass you get: the first few sips filled my throat with burning, but the bits at the bottom were nice and sweet. Overall, it tastes like black liquorice. More importantly, though, it prompted several of my friends to make hilarious faces, which I made sure to capture.

11 comments:

Nat said...

Apparently the stuff with the "medicinal" ingredients taste absolutely atrocious... even with the sugar...

Zach W. said...

I've been trying to get my hands on some absinthe; I just can't find anyone around who sells it.

Anonymous said...

But, but, but, you didn't talk about the effects! Better than the standard gin and tonic?

Tirol said...

No thujone = no effect

Alcohol is a GABA agonist. It stimulates the production of this neurotransmitter which causes drowsiness and sleep. Thujone is a GABA antagonist. It prohibits alcohol from performing that part of it's function. Real absinthe is therefore a type of 'speedball', it's chemical constituents at once promote the production of GABA and opens its receptors, while also closing those receptors off. This explains the 'green fairy' effect that absinthe has.

The highest you will find today is 100mg thujune like Century Absinthe. Expensive though.

Emily said...

I didn't talk about the effects because, minus the thujone, it basically does the same thing as any other really potent liquor. So sadly, there were no green fairies and I didn't write the Great American Novel overnight. I suspect I'll have to go to the far reaches of Eastern Europe or something for that. :)

And thanks to tirol for the chemistry lesson. I knew that thujone was the responsible party, but not why.

Tirol said...

Pleasure :-)

You can order the real thing online of course. If you want me to suggest some other brands I can. I drink rather a lot of it ;-)

Mix with water at a ratio of 1:4 to create the clouding (louche) and this is the herbal oils held in suspension in the alcohol being released. The real thing seems expensive but y'all need just a few glasses and it is a concentrate really.

What brand did you buy?

Emily said...

I do believe it was a bottle of Kubler.

Zach W. said...

tirol, I'm all ears (eyes). What brand would you suggest?

Tirol said...

Kubler is the best US available brand from the taste point of view IMHO. A Swiss blanche (clear) absinthe

Zak, do you want a high thujone absinthe? or what are you after? The market is flooded with total rubbish but there are a few gems that are not hyped by the ad men. Let me know what you like - anise (licorice) flavour suits you?

3rd Way said...

Spill it Tirol. What is the best high thujone content absinthe available, and where can you get it?

I had an absinthe experience in Aix. I was not a huge fan of the anise taste. I switched back to wine after one glass and missed out on the green fairies.

Emily said...

I don't from first-hand experience, but a brand name I see bandied about quite a bit for its high thujone content is Century Absinthe. If you're willing to shell out some bucks, you can order it online.

The Lost Albatross