On Saturday night N. and I invited Jamie over for a couple of drinks. I had bought a small bottle of Absinth, of the Czech variety. We had been planning for some time to try it. (He studied French literature in university, and I was a big Rimbaud fan when I was a teenager, so that should explain it.)
I opened the bottle and took a sniff. It looked and smelled like Aqua Velva aftershave. The taste did not change this impression.
A colleague of mine had told me that she had tried some and had found it very bitter. I thought this was why people poured it through sugar. The ingredients on the bottle said there was sugar, and so we assumed we wouldn’t need to add any. We were wrong, but I only found this out today.
We poured a small amount into a glass and tried it, straight. This is the 60% type, not the 70%. I remember years ago seeing a drunk on the subway guzzling down some Aqua Velva. On Saturday I got an idea of what that must have been like. As soon as I swallowed it, the heat ran through my body. We wondered how on earth people could drink so much of it, and thought it would be better with water. Then we went on to safer ouzo or beer.
Today I’ve read up on how it should be drunk. I knew about the sugar, having seen it in a couple of films. I don’t have the special spoon that is used, or even sugar cubes, so I used a regular spoon and put some of the drink into some cane sugar. I lit it and let it burn for about twenty seconds and then dropped it into the absinthe, stirred it, and then added cold water. The result is at least drinkable.
However, Czech absinth is supposed to be a cheap imitation, a fake, according to the Wormood Society. I’d have to try the French kind that the compare it to to understand the difference. With the amount of water I’ve put in, it’s not at all bad, although nothing special either.
Of course, I only paid eight euros for it. If I don’t drink any more of it, I can always slap some on my face after I shave.