Thursday, January 18, 2007


A friend of mine introduced me to Absinthe, a tasty but strong alcohol containing wormwood (yes, the one from Harry Potter).

It used to be available exclusively in what used to be called Chocolate and Love (now Bliss). However, I've even seen it on sale at places as surprising as the Formoz Festival.

I'd never heard of it back home even though it's perfectly legal there. I say this since absinthe has a history and was banned in places in Europe at times. Historically, it was the poison of choice of many artists, writers and thinkers, these included Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Guy de Maupassant, Arthur Rimbaud, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway.

It's 80% alcohol and a bottle costs around $3200NT (the best way to buy if you are going to share; per glass is pricey). How is it served?

"Traditionally, absinthe is poured into a glass over which a specially designed slotted spoon is placed. A sugar cube is then deposited in the bowl of the spoon. Ice-cold water is poured or dripped over the sugar until the drink is diluted 3:1 to 5:1"

At the bar I drank it at, the cube once doused with absinthe was lit on fire using a lighter for extra effect. Careful with that fire if you've already drank a lot!
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