by Sad Man’s Tongue
While I was still living in the United States I often travelled to Europe. My college student neighbors never seem too interested in my travels until I told them I was going to Prague, in the Czech Republic. When they heard this their eyes lit up and they proceeded to beg me to bring them back some Absinth, which is illegal in the United States, just like Cuban cigars, and in some states a rare burger.
It amazes me that I have to leave the United States to experience real freedom, eating a rare cheeseburger, smoking a Cuban cigar, and drinking Absinth all from the same seat. Goethe once said that “Those who believe they are free are truly enslaved,” but I digress.
So I would travel to Prague, pick up several bottles of absinth for about $7 each and sell them to my student neighbors for $70 each, wich by the way was the going price on Ebay, and that would pay for my hotel rooms for the weekend, actually two level suites at the time.
So I have a friend who owns a tobacco shop where I buy my Cuban cigars and she also happens to make her own Absinth as well. Not only that, but she makes the only black absinth on the market, which I suppose is the green fairies darker side.
Absinth was first made in the late 18th century, that’s 1780-1799 for those wondering, in Switzerland. As the green fairy took off it found a place amongst many of societies poets, authors, and painters such as Ernest Hemingway, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Jarry.
Later in France absinth sales started to exceed wine sales and of course the natural reaction of the wine makers was to start a campaign against it. By 1915 absinth was illegal in most countries in Europe and in the United States.
But you can’t keep a good fairy down. Eastern Europe kept the flame alive, especially in the Czech Republic, and by the 1990s absinth became legal again in most European countries where in France, Switzerland, Spain, and the Czech Republic you will find the biggest producers.
There are two ritual ways to drink Absinth in the Czech republic. One is the Czech Absinthe Huffing Ritual and the other is the flaming pour ritual. Both are featured in the videos below.
If you make it to Prague be sure to try out the local absinth and stop by our friends over at Churchill Cigars on Na Mustku 6 to pick up some of their home-made absinth, or visit their website at Euphoria-absinth.com.