Tuesday, May 23, 2006

L'heure verte

During my investigations of Polish vodka, I have come across a source of Absinthe Polski. I'm very tempted to get a bottle and take it down to Bradford Upon Avon as a tribute to the fin de siecle figures like Wilde and Rimbaud in Written Lives.

The serving of absinthe is something of a ritual, involving as it does pouring water over lumps of sugar sitting on special spoons. The ritual arose because vintage absinthe was unsweetened and slightly too bitter for some palates, and the sugar needed to sweeten it would not dissolve in the liqueur’s 68% to 72% alcohol content. By the time the drink was banned there were over a hundred different designs of spoons.

Step 1: Pour a measure of absinthe into a tall glass.

Step 2: Place a slotted absinthe spoon over the glass and place a sugar cube on it the lozenge-shaped French cubes work best)

Step 3: Slowly pour 4 to 5 parts of iced water over the sugar and let it drip into the glass. The absinthe will turn from emerald green to a milky white.

Step 4: Sip slowly and imagine yourself in a Belle Époque Parisian café
Step 5: Propose Barnaby Conrad's Absinthe: History in a Bottle for the next meeting.

(Don't fret, I've bought an absinthe spoon on eBay which - with a following wind - should be here by the end of the week.)

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