For reasons that go back to my college days and my love of drink, I’ve developed a passing interest in Absinthe, and I’ve written about it here a few times. If you’re not familiar with it, it was a liquor that was very popular during the latter half of the 19th century. It was pretty much globally outlawed in the early 20th century because of fears that some of the compounds in it cause addiction, dementia and other ills. I was at a cocktail party this summer where the host brought out a bottle of it and this led to some controversy around the table – the host was under the impression he had purchased an actual bottle of it, whereas others (including myself) were convinced that what is sold as Absinthe in Europe these days bears little in common with the Absinthe of the 19th century beyond the name. Wired is running a pretty interesting article that sheds light on this – it turns out everyone was in fact partly right. Much of what is being sold as Absinthe is pretty much junk but you can actually buy some decent vintages, thanks in large part to the research of Ted Breaux, the subject of the wired article I linked to.
It’s still illegal to buy or consume Absinthe in the US, unfortunately. It’s also easy enough to find an importer willing to sell it to you though, a quick example being absintheonline.com, who happens to carry the vintage discussed in the wired article for ~$100.00 a bottle plus shipping. Their FAQ claims they’ve been shipping to the US for years with no legal problems. As before I am sorely tempted to order myself a bottle but I worry about the potential legal consequences, something the Wired article fails to cover. Any thoughts from my readers? Anyone interested in an Absinthe fueled New Year’s eve this year? $100 a bottle plus shipping sounds expensive but what price a unique experience? To me it seems pretty damned cheap when you think of it in that context. Any takers?