Incidental Acts of Spontaneous Cerebral Violence

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Green Fairy

Although I would never assume (out loud, at least) to include myself in any list including Hemingway, Picasso, Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Ewan McGregror, I recently became an initiate into their (not-so-selective) fraternity where the sole rite of initiation involves the consumption of absinthe. While it may not become my sipping liqueur of choice, it does have a certain refined charm. And that warm clarity of vision thing . . . holy shit . . . they ain’t kidding.

Two pieces of first-hand wisdom for the potential absinthe imbiber:

1. Do NOT drink it on an empty stomach. Despite logic (and a large lunch) attempting to persuade you that food in your stomach will dampen the feeling and slow its absorption, I will tell you in unequivocal terms: WRONG. Food will not dampen absinthe’s effects. Dry heaving, on the other hand, certainly will. Absinthe should not be an aperitif. It should enhance, not kick-start your evening.

2. Prepare yourself for a massive (and when I say massive, I mean MASSIVE) hangover the next morning when the thujone has dissipated and all you are left with are the remnants of the 70% alcohol, the water and the sugar cubes that constitute the remainder of the concoction.

Here’s a great excerpt from the definitve absinthe site:
Quality absinthe, properly distilled, does have a different effect over and above the results of alcohol, though at up to 70%, the effects of the alcohol alone can be considerable. Absinthe's effects, despite popular conception, are not due to the wormwood (Artemisia Absinthia) alone. Absinthe's constituents consist of a very delicate balance of various herbs, most of which contribute in one way or another to its intoxicating effects. Ted Breaux once explained it that it is a push-me, pull-you effect of the various herbs, as some are of an heightening effect, and others are lowering. The effect on the individual is subjective, and can best be described as a kind of heightened clarity of mind and vision, mildly ponderous and sparkling, and warmed by the effect of the alcohol. This seems to wear off after 20 or 30 minutes, leaving one with an alcohol buzz. 2-3 glasses seems to do the trick. More than that, depending on the proof of the alcohol, will just make you very drunk.
La Fée Verte FAQ

And if you all ask very nicely, I’ll fill in those wonderful gaps in the chronology falling between consumption and hangover. Just not this second. It’s a Monday and I do have a bit of work.

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