June 17

The Green Fairy

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While wandering through the nooks and crannies of Prague during MD’s rehearsal for her first concert (takes place tomorrow—I’ll give an unbiased review) I came across a number of stores selling absinthe. I’ve read about absinthe for years, but, for whatever reason, I always thought it was no longer made. In fact, I thought it was illegal.
I did a little Internet research and found that it is still made in a few countries, one of which is the Czech Republic, which explains why I saw it all over the place.
Having never before tasted it, I didn’t want to splurge for an entire bottle (especially since MD packed us so tightly that I probably couldn’t fit a dime into one of our suitcases, let alone a large bottle. And asking her to repack to accommodate something that size would be tantamount to committing suicide on my part.), so I tried a glass of it in the bar.
The traditional way absinthe is drunk is to put in the bottom of a glass then drip ice water over a sugar cube resting on an absinthe spoon (a small, slotted spoon) that lays across the mouth of the glass. The cold sugary water falls in the absinthe turning it from a bright lime green to a cloudy gray color called the louche. When I tried it the first time I didn’t know this, so I just had it straight. It was a little stout. The next time I had it in water (without the sugar), and it was a lot like pastis, but better. It has an anesthetizing effect on my oral mucosa–it is sometimes called the Green Fairy because too much of it has an anesthetizing and hallucinogenic affect on the brain–if I held it in my mouth too long savoring it. I don’t know if I really like it as much as I think I do or if I’m just swept up in the history and the illegality of it. I’ll try it a few more times and with a few different brands and see how it wears.
I’ve found a number of sources online that say they can ship to the US without problems. As far as I can figure, the law is pretty murky as to whether or not it is legal to ship it to the US. There is no doubt that it is illegal to make or to sell here (in the US), but most of the sources online say they have no difficulty sending it and having it delivered safely.
I liked absinthe well enough that I’m going to explore the options. One of the great things about the internet is that there is so much information there; the bad thing is you don’t know how much of it is true.
I’ll be the guinea pig and will keep you posted.


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