Since I first heard about absinthe, I was curious to try it. Why were so many influential people, like Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde, so fond of it? Why were so many other people afraid of it?
This mild curiosity was only increased by the classy image it portrayed, and the ritual that went along with preparing it. The color, texture, taste, and aroma are all transformed by the process. You can imagine why a culture built up around it. The fact that it's a lost culture makes it interesting. Then I found out that one of its defining flavors is anise, and it was all over.
I've never tired it. Maybe I won't even like it. I'm just saying, I need to taste this. So I did some research, and found out it has been legal in the US since 2007. They didn't actually change any laws, they just realized that it always did meet US health and safety standards.
I decided I should start with something traditional, so I found a site for absinthe aficionados who were nice enough to review many, many brands. They even tagged which brands are available in the US.
It looks to me like there's only one place in the Twin Cities that sells absinthe, and they don't sell any of the brands recommended by this group. There's a lot of imitations out there, so I figure I better stick to the list, at least at first, and order online. I decided that Pacifique Absinthe Verte Superieure is the most authentic one I could get for the least amount of money.
It cost $80, but only because of the $15 in shipping. Yes, that's a lot for a bottle of booze, but it's only a one time thing unless I really love it. If I really love it, then it will probably be worth it. And I don't need to invest in any of the paraphernalia right away.
I'll report back and let you guys know.