Saturday, November 3, 2012

A fairy and an Absinth masterclass...#55 revisited

I have already ticked off #55 on the Life List 'Try Absinth'. However when I saw an Absinthe masterclass was part of the Sydney Fringe Festival I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to learn more about this 'risque' drink.

Our Absinth punch
I have always been fascinated by Absinth and the history behind this drink which is often referred to as "la fée verte" (the green fairy). The stories about this drink and the artists that famously drank it have always made Absinth to me sound so exotic and dangerous.

The Fringe Festival event was hosted by Green Fairy, which claims to be the original Czech Absinth. At the class we were were able to sample the different types of Absinth available as well as learn about the history and mysteries surrounding this very ancient and once forbidden drink.

Gee David Absinth(e) Aficionado and mixologist
One of the myths that this class debunked was that Absinthe once contained hallucinogenic properties.

Supposedly it never did.

The chemical compound thujone which was blamed for these hallucinations is contained at very low levels that it could never be hallucinogenic. What it does contain is a VERY high levels of alcohol, some contained up to 90% alcohol, which could be the real reason people acted crazy.... they got very drunk.

Another reason people claimed it caused hallucinations was the toxic compounds that leaked in the spirit when it was being distilled to cut costs which could be a cause of these bad side effects.

So sadly the 'green fairy' hallucinations and expansions of the mind that these famous artists such as Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, and Hemingway claimed Absinth gave them could just have been alcoholism.

The Green Fairy
What we did try at the class which I very much liked was Babicka Vodka. This vodka contains wormwood, the herb that is one of the main ingredients in Absinth.
Babička (ba-bitch-ka) vodka was inspired by 16th century Czechoslovakian wise old women called "babičkas". The babičkas freely used wormwood in their potions for its reputation of enhancing sensuality, creativity and love, not to mention its mildly hallucinatory effects. The babičkas rapidly became renowned for having mystical healing powers and practicing the art of witchcraft.
These recipes created by babičkas represent some of the earliest vodka formulas ever created, a witches' brew.

We also learnt about the best way to serve the drink via a Absinthe water fountain. It was so much fun learning about all the rituals with how you drink it.

I am now on the search for the perfect Antique Absinth fountain.

However I have to be careful as to how much I drink of it, as Absinth gives me very bad hang overs.


  1. I used to be a lover of Absinth but after one 'unfortunate' incident involving Absinth...I cannot go near the stuff. Such a shame!


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