On Absinthe

Sunday, August 24, 2008

You may or may not be aware that Absinthe is now legal in the Unite States. And living in New Orleans, I am blessed with several institutions that will properly serve it. After having read both NOLA Notes' and Pontchartrain Pete's stories of tasting and drinking Absinthe I was excited to try it.

We had friends in town from California for one night and wanted to do some good New Orleanian stuff. So we had dinner at Jacques Imos, which was excellent and then we headed to my least favorite place in this city, The French Quarter. Yes, I believe that tourists should see it, it's a historical location, but I'm sorry, it absolutely smells like vomit. You know the instant you've reached the quarter because the smell reaches up and smacks you in the face.

But anyway, I texted NOLA and asked her where we should go to acquire the Absinthe and she recommended the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street, which is where we went. The four of us walked up to the bar and decided we wanted to try Kubler (they had 3 different kinds, this was the one the bartender suggested). First, they put a sugar cube on top of the glass, then they pour the Kubler over it. Then they light it on fire (NOLA, I know you told me not to, but I didn't have the foggiest idea what "don't have them burn it" meant until my alcohol soaked sugar cube was already on fire), and then they dilute it a little by pouring water atop of the rest of the sugar cube.

In the end we got a nice whitish, though rather small glass of Kubler Absinthe. A rather small SIXTEEN DOLLAR glass of Absinthe. I felt like the world's worst host, I'm like, yes, you must come to New Olreans and have Absinthe, oh and it'll cost you as much as having a small medical procedure. Seriously? That's insane.

And then there's the drink itself. I guess all I can really say about it is that I now understand why they don't sell full bags of just black jelly beans. I mean, I LOVE black jelly beans, but you can't eat more than like 3 in a row without being overwhelmed with the anise flavor. That was like this, only liquid and it stayed with you. And it made my tongue tingle.

Our friends were polite and ended up more shooting theirs than sipping it because I think they knew they'd never be able to finish it slowly, I nursed mine for like, um 2 hours until I could no longer stand the idea of putting the liquified jelly beans into my mouth.

I'm not telling you not to try absinthe, I'm just saying that for 16 dollars a glass, you might want to consider if there's anything else in the world you'd rather do with that money. And then go do it.


Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of black licorice at all, but I have found that I can slowly sip on an Absithe.

مارية said...

I'm willing to give absinthe a shot, but if it costs 16 dollars a glass...I'll just take a sniff of somebody else's.

Flea said...

I think my father in law brought something like it home from Germany once. He said they drank tiny amounts after large meals, to calm the stomach. It tasted like Nyquil gone wrong (I hate black licorice). But it did calm the stomach. I'll pass, thanks.

Hey, I linked to you today. :)

Anonymous said...

I would say that your first mistake was asking the bartender. Me thinks he offered up the most expensive in the bar.

I am safe, I don't drink, but rather sit and mock the drunken.

Anonymous said...

It IS expensive. It is to be sipped. (They burned ours their too--it's just that you are paying for them to burn the very expensive liquor--it should cost less if they don't burn it!).

Anyway, it IS something to try. I like it but don't LOVE it. I prefer a sazarac better, I think. Absinthe is too anise-flavored or alternately too sweet from the sugar added for my taste.

But, hey, it's an experience your friends can tell abt once home.

And Kubler is NOT the most expensive OAH sells. Your bartender steered you right.

the queen said...

We have something called anisette that tastes like black licorice. It came from my dead Dad's stash. Dead 20 years. No one drank it then, no one drinks it now.

But did you hallucinate? I thought they took out the hallucinogen,thats why they could sell it now.

CoastingThroughTheSouth said...

The best place to get absinthe? My bar at home. if you ever want to try some other types? jus tlet me know.