Sunday, December 13, 2015

Absinthe Please

What is Absinthe? You will be surprised!
Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine,
Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso,
Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie and
Alfred Jarry were all known absinthe drinkers.

Think of it as in a happy drink not for the drunks you see drunk in a bar
out in the woods!

There is a reason why people drink it. Alcohol is a depressant but Absinthe is not.
There is a class to the drink more than rednecks drinking beer. "Beer is Beer!"
Like you might as well have a beer enema so you can be depressed faster!
No? Absinthe would do a redneck a lot of good!

A drink should be for the better not to get angry with!
In the east many drink Vietnamese coffee and some have Opium in it.
I had a friend teaching ESL English in South Korea, Pusan.
He told me about it. He didn't tell me if he had any but now I know!
So drugs or something relating is norm and the point is to have a happy drink!

To the bars / coffee shops in my town please look into Absinthe!
Or Vietnamese coffee... Opium?!?!?

~~~~~The Art Of Drinking Absinthe, The Liquor Of Aesthetes
There's something romantic about absinthe that naturally green liquor derived from
wormwood and herbs like anise or fennel. Vincent Van Gogh and Oscar Wilde
drank it. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso filled the glasses of
cafe patrons with absinthe in their paintings. Absinthe was a drink of aesthetes.

Yet it was not art, but necessity that first helped popularize absinthe: It was included
in the rations of French soldiers who marched off to colonize Algeria in the 1840s.
As Betina Wittels and Robert Hermesch write in Absinthe: Sip of Seduction,
French army doctors issued absinthe to soldiers "for the prevention of fevers and
treatment of dysentery."

Soon, the soldiers were drinking the beverage for nonmedicinal purposes, too.
Wittels and Hermesch write that it became a fashionable beverage in Algerian cafes and
nightclubs, and when soldiers returned to France, they weren't ready to give the drink up.
At the time, the French wine industry was collapsing owing to a vine-killing aphid called
phylloxera that left wine in short supply. Absinthe was in the right place at the right time.
But rather than simply substituting one alcohol for another, the French developed a ritual
for drinking absinthe that gave rise to some of the greatest liquor paraphernalia known as
absinthiana around.

First, absinthe is mixed with cold water. Not only does this dilute a liquor that is often
bottled at about 70 percent ABV, it also produces a cloudy effect called le louche
(which can be roughly translated to "the clouding"). Le louche is a spectacle for the eyes,
as the absinthe transforms from a deep green to a milky, iridescent shade.
It is a bit of magic in a glass.This drip fountain, on display at the
Southern Food and Beverage Museum, is a replica of the one found at the
Old Absinthe House in New Orleans. Drip fountains were an economical way to
cool down water before adding it to absinthe, while also prolonging the spectacle
of le louche.

Courtesy of Southern Food and Beverage Museum Le louche is also an 
example of a scientifically interesting phenomenon known as the "ouzo effect." 
Basically, when the water hits the absinthe, it releases the essential oils from the alcohol 
into the water, creating a spontaneous emulsion. So the drink becomes cloudy, 
and the effect sticks around a surprisingly long time.

Cold water, it seems, was considered essential to palatability:
In Five O'Clock Absinthe, the late-19th century poet Raoul Ponchon wrote that,
if you have warm absinthe, boire du pissat d'âne ou du bouillon pointu which translates,
more or less, to "you might as well drink donkey's urine or 'enema broth' " instead.
So cold water it was. The absinthe is sweetened with a cube of sugar, placed on a
slotted spoon balanced on top of the glass. Water is dripped over the sugar,
so that it dissolves slowly into the refreshment below.

Why create a special spoon for this purpose? Forks could also work, but in the
1800s, sugar didn't come in cubes but in lumpy rocks, which would have been
difficult to balance on tines. So the French created special spoons that could cradle
the sugar while allowing the sweetened water to drip down into the glass.

Drip fountains were created for two reasons. First, they allowed people to economically
cool the water used to dilute the strong liquor. A small amount of ice which was still an
expensive luxury in the mid-1800s could be used to chill a large quantity of water.
Second, the fountains allowed patrons to draw out the ritual of le louche.
Sure, you could simply pour the water in all at once and be done with it.
But where is the magic in that? No, drinking absinthe was meant to be an indulgence
for the senses no wonder artists flocked to the beverage. Absinthiana collector
Scott MacDonald, author of Absinthe Antiques, refers to the process as
"Western civilization's tea ceremony."

Lots of people were drinking absinthe in the latter half of the 19th century, but the way
they drank it and the utensils they used quickly became a marker of social class.
While cafes might carry slotted spoons with a simple design, some wealthy families
would order a full set of specially engraved spoons from the silversmith. Like most of us,
these wealthy absinthe drinkers weren't immune to trends: MacDonald says that in the
1880s, spoons made out of a new material called aluminum were actually more costly
than those made from pure silver.

The French brought their love of absinthe with them to New Orleans, which explains why
the city's Southern Food and Beverage Museum has a large exhibit devoted to the drink.
Museum President Liz Williams says that only the upper classes could afford a bottle of
absinthe on their own but that didn't make absinthe any less of the people's drink.
Instead of happy hour, the time between 5-7 every evening was known as
"the green hour" in France. People gathered in cafes, visiting and unwinding over glasses
of absinthe.

And MacDonald explains that despite absinthe's reputation as an artist's beverage,
it was the common person's beverage first. "Artists enjoyed it because it brought people
together," explains MacDonald. "They enjoyed the culture of it."