About 20 years ago, in a little corner bar on the east end of Bourbon Street, I had my first taste of the illegal distillate. Part liquor, part herb, part performance theater, absinthe proved intoxicating, both figuratively and literally. After being ushered to an aged table, an elegant dispensing apparatus appeared out of the back shadows. Tall, thick, ancient appearing glasses were placed under each spout, each topped with an equally ancient perforated spoon and capped with an assymetric sugar cube. An anonymous hand then placed the illicit bottle on the table. I started having second thoughts the moment the label became visible with the flicker of the candle. A morphing green fairy with a sardonic grin stared back at me as if daring me to proceed. I hesitated. My husband, then only my on again, off again boyfriend – and not one with a lot of common sense – said “cool”, grabbed the bottle and started pouring.
A pale green fluid pooled in the bottom of each glass. The absinthe fountain, which looked like an elegantly bizarre fondue pot, was filled with ice and water. The lever was turned, and a slow drip of iced water permeated the sugar cube and glided into the liquor. With each drip, an opalescent cloud formed as the herbal essence was released. One could almost envision the fairy emerging from the swirling brew. The cocktail complete, I ventured forth. A pleasingly crisp, slightly sweetened licorice flavored my palate. Not bad, actually quite good.
A few hours later we left the bar. No hallucinations, just a little intoxicated. Absinthe proved an enjoyable liquor with a storied tradition.
Now a few facts:
Absinthe is now legal for purchase in the United States. Absinthe does not cause hallucinations. This was a misconception promoted by the French wine consortium who deemed Absinthe’s afford ability and popularity a detriment to wine sales. Absinthe’s green color is a result of natural ingredients; no coloring is added. The bottles are dark to prevent exposure to light, which would destroy the natural color. Grande wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is the key ingredient in genuine Absinthe. The active ingredient thujone is strictly regulated. It has been noted that even the original manufacturers of Absinthe did not have significant amounts of thujone which could has caused hallucinations. The hallucinations historically alluded to with the myth of absinthe can probably be attributed to the concurrent popularity of cocaine and opium.
The Paris Market & Brocante carries Absinthe accessories for sale both in the store and on our website at http://theparismarket.com/Gallery.asp?secondary=12&catid=9
at 3:19 PM
My wife decided not to get up for an early morning shopping spree. She’s not a morning person; she actually thinks brunch is the first meal of the day. We had this great opportunity to select shop a vintage European wholesaler, but the first come first served mentality was to prevail. Perhaps a few too many bourbons the night before, I woke up ready, reeling, but ready. My wife, alas, still in deep hibernation, was not to be aroused. After a quick caffeine infusion it was off to the hunt.
I arrived in the dark to join the other hungry retailers at the gate. Felt like the kennel at feeding time. Each new arrival was sized up and subsequently discarded to the back of the line by the pack leader. The wholesaler finally sauntered up to the gate and herded us inside.
Ah, like the Vikings of old, we pillaged our way through the warehouse. Everything had a price, and I had to have everything. Stickers flew about, hopes won, dreams dashed.
A couple of hours later, an American express card much lighter, I return to the hotel. My wife, still in the same place I left her, although with a half empty cup of coffee in her hand and some croissant fragments on her robe, asked how it went. I proudly pulled out the receipt and revealed my treasure;
Antique taxidermy baby deer, baby goat, fox, and badger
French model solar system (Which sold quick!)
109 terra cotta theatre nose molds (early 1900's)
My wife now accompanies me on all buying outings. I believe she has finally realized the magnitude of my genius.
*all items available at the Paris Market and Brocante store or website. Noses available individually or as a lot. Priced from $140-170 individually.
at 12:29 PM