"Let me be mad… mad with the madness of Absinthe, the wildest, most luxurious madness in the world."
~ Marie Corelli
A few weeks ago when I visited the St. George Distillery, I got to try their absinthe for the first time. It was lovely, but our bartender mentioned they don't prepare absinthe the way that it used to be prepared traditionally, which was by dripping ice water onto a sugar cube through a special slotted absinthe spoon, into the drink. The sugar cube was used because the absinthes that people drank back then were extremely bitter, but the St. George Absinthe was not at all, and they wanted to make sure that the delicious, natural flavors in their absinthe weren't masked by the addition of sugar. Fair enough - I thought it was very nice!
But a while ago, I had purchased some absinthe and a beautiful absinthe spoon for our friend Laurie, for her birthday. Since we're hanging out this weekend, I thought it would be fun to finally use that spoon! Here are some more shots of it - really, isn't it pretty?
Absinthe used to be very popular among artists like Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh, and many others - there is even a special "Toulouse-Lautrec" design spoon that is modeled after the one he fashioned for himself, and when Nick and I visited New York last year, we saw a sculpture that Picasso did of an absinthe glass, which was a ground-breaking mixed media piece, incorporating an actual absinthe spoon:
As noted above, the traditional method of preparing absinthe is done by dripping ice water onto the sugar cube on the slotted spoon, into the drink.
The water is added little by little, until the drink becomes a bit cloudy, which lets you know that the essential oils from the herbs in it are emulsifying as the spirit is diluted (absinthe is usually around 60% alcohol, or 120 proof). Then, you sip!
This was fun. While the absinthe was a bit sweet for me, I could have added a little bit more water too - maybe that's why people used to drink it with a sugar cube! So that adding the water could stretch it out further as well. Ha ha ha. This spoon really was beautiful, and though if I buy absinthe in the future it will probably be from St. George Spirits who are vehemently against preparing their absinthe in this method, I think it's nice simply to at least have an absinthe spoon, even if only in homage to the fascinating culture that once drank it this way. Salud! Santé! Cheers!
Absinthe Spoon Set (3)