June 10, 2006
I have such great friends. I've been wanting to try some of la Fée Verte (The Green Fairy) for quite some time, but never pulled the trigger on ordering a bottle. But my Wednesday night drinking buddy, Michael, recently came back from Paris, and brought us back a bottle of the jade-colored "deadly stimulant" and we transported ourselves back to Moulin Rouge and the heyday of a bohemian living. We raise a glass of absinthe - oooo. Check the Wikipedia entry on absinthe for a pretty good short history of absinthe, but suffice to say it is illegal in the US to make, buy or transport, but you can own it and drink it, so I wasn't expecting the doors to come crashing in, arresting us on sight!
And Michael didn't skimp either. He brought back a bottle of Absinthe Nouvelle-Orleans by TA Breaux, the New Orleans chemist who reverse-engineered the long-forgotten recipe for the Pernod Absinthe. He was featured in a Wired magazine article and a New Yorker profile. It comes in a gorgeous tall thin bottle, with a very pretty label, sealed with wax and a long cork. He also brought over the required absinthe slotted spoon and even a couple of French sugar cubes - we went authentic all the way!
The absinthe serving process is a little complicated, because you want to dilute the 68% (nearly 140 proof!) liquor down a little before drinking it. So you put the slotted spoon over a glass, set the sugar cube on the spoon and slowly run cold water across the cube and into the green liquid. The liquor slowly begins to "louche", which is when it turns a milky-green. About a 4-1 ratio of water to absinthe is about right, but I think maybe we were a little short of that. It will definitely require lots and lots of practice!-)
After we filled our glasses, we took a sip of the forbidden elixir. And it was surprisingly good, especially for something some have described as "an incredibly nasty drink". Mint, licorice, and other herbs could be tasted. And yes, after a few sips, something weird goes on in the mouth; something tingly, a little numbing, and very much hard to describe. But definitely good, yet something that will require some practice to get right. Colder water, perhaps, with a better ratio. He also brought back another, smaller, bottle, so we'll have to do some taste tests.
I thought that maybe just one drink of a 136 proof liquor would be enough, but we have a system, and we stuck with it. Due to having some mint left over from my concoctions made for Mixology Monday III, I decided to try one of the other mint drinks. So many of them sounded good, but I settled on the Cook Almost Anything entry, as it looked like it could stand up to the strength of the absinthe:
Pineapple and Mint Margarita
- 1 oz Tequila (we used Jose Cuervo - time for a new bottle)
- 1/2 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 5 fresh mint leaves
In a blender add all the ingredients and process until well combined. Pour into a martini glass and serve.
Yum, this was good! And yup, it did manage to take over the mouth after the absinthe assault, which was also good. I'd love to make up a big batch of this for a party this summer.
Then we played a few more hours of Serious Sam II. I think Michael said we only have 8 more levels to go. Phew! And we watched an episode of The Sopranos for the first time in quite a while. These last few from season three have really been solid.