Celebrating the return of Absinthe, this Friday
Edgar Dégas, “L’Absinthe”, 1876, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
This week Vino’s cocktail hour celebrates one of the world’s most celebrated and controversial spirits, Absinthe, the popularity and notoriety of which have inspired writers and artists for generations. Its apparently addictive qualities and subsequent ban have only served to enhance its mystique.
Though originating in Neuchatel, Switzerland, this green, anise-flavored herbal spirit reached the peak of its popularity in turn-of-the-century Paris, where it rapidly became the tipple of choice among painters and literary-types basking in la vie bôhème. From the bourgeoisie to the working classes, at its height Absinthe was so popular in France that 5 o’clock in the afternoon became affectionately known as “l’heure verte” or “The Green Hour”.
Edouard Manet, “The Absinthe Drinker”, 1858-59,
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Absinthe also became known as “la fée verte” (“Green Fairy”), an allusion to its supposed drug-like properties. Critics claimed it was a potentially dangerous hallucinogenic and psychoactive drug, associating it with crime and social unrest. By 1915, Absinthe had been prohibited in France and most other European countries and the United States, after which demand fell sharply.
Pablo Picasso, “The Absinthe Drinker”, 1901,
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.
Despite Absinthe’s continued availability in Spain and the UK, it was decades before a resurgence in interest occurred. After an independent push to have the laws adjusted, in 2000 the first French-made Absinthe was made available in France since 1914. In 2007, after a 95-year absence, Absinthe was imported into the United States.
Now Absinthe has found its way to Vino! Join us tomorrow afternoon as we pour Vieux Ponterlier Absinthe Française Supérieure by Èmile Pernot. Carefully crafted in small batches using alambic stills that were specifically designed to make absinthe, this top quality French Absinthe is distilled using locally grown wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), which is considered the finest in the world, along with green anise seed, Provençal fennel seed and a variety of additional aromatic herbs and spices. Faithful to Absinthe’s original formulations, there is no sweetening added of any kind — its refreshing taste is obtained entirely from the combination of plants and the distiller’s skills.
FREE ABSINTHE TASTING
Thursday, April 22
For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.