Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Absinthe: The Green Hour at Digestif

Digestif has excellent Cal-Ital food with organic vegetables and farm to table meals. Digestif, as reflected by its name, is also known for its unique drinks. Digestif defines its offerings as "liqueur, frequently herb-based, meant for post-meal enjoyment to aid digestion including Fernet, Ramazzotti, Chartreuse, Lucid, Nardini, and Zwack."

And one of the special liquors offered is absinthe or The Green Fairy (la fee verte). Absinthe has a very high alcohol content (45% to 74%), is generally green in color, and has a licorice/anise flavor. It does not taste strong like Ouzo from Greece, but is very smooth if served correctly.

I was curious so I ordered the Pernod, which is a French absinthe. As you can see in the first photo, a pretty crystal glass container with ice and a spout was brought to the table, it is called an absinthe fountain. A glass of green absinthe is placed under the spout. As shown in the second photo, a silver slotted absinthe spoon is rested on top of the glass and a white sugar cube is placed on top of the spoon. Then, the spout is turned ever so slowly to drizzle onto the sugar cube and melt it into the absinthe along with adding water to evenly dilute the absinthe and allow the herbs in the liquor to come forth. Next, you sip slowly and enjoy. It was very smooth and enjoyable. The waiter had to remind me to drink it slowly as it had a very high alcohol content, which is not evident when you start drinking it. It was quite nice. I did not have a psychedelic experience though.

As you may recall, absinthe was a favorite of Parisian artists and writers in the late 19th and early 20th Century, from Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Ernest Hemingway to name just a few. It was considered a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and was banned in about 1915. Production for absinthe resumed in Europe in the 1990s and in the United Stated in 2007. The active chemical in absinthe is thujone.

Absinthe is not listed on the menu, but you can go in and ask for the Green Fairy, which is subtly hidden on the sign on the wall visible in the third photograph. The fourth photograph is of the painting on the wall by the bathroom at Digestif and lets you see how bohemian you are supposed to feel and look after drinking absinthe. So do you want to become a devotee of the Green Fairy?

25 comments:

Olivier said...

l'absinthe, en effet l'alcool des artistes («l'absinthe qui rend fou» longtemps interdite en France). Maintenant elle est diffĂ©rente et dosĂ© plus douce.
absinthe, in effect alcohol of the artists (« the absinthe which is productive mad » for a long time forbidden in France). Now it differs and dosed softer.

brattcat said...

I do, I do want to join the Green Fairy League. This is a wonderful post, full of information and a delicious tickle of the senses.

Vogon Poet said...

Absolutely interesting post, I like your way in describing the restaurant itself and the Green Fairy story (and use).
Beautiful images in this and yesterday post.

B Squared said...

If we ordered a Green Fairy here, a fight would break out. Like the story and would like to try the drink.

Steffe said...

I remember reading about Absinthe and what happened to those French painters, so I think I will stick to a Guinness, at least today!

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Did you post photos and a story about the "green fairy" because today is St. Patrick's Day?

It is a good thing that you live close enough to downtown Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Waterfront to walk to dinner at restaurants such as Digestif, rather than driving home after spending time with the green fairy.

Sharon said...

This is becoming more common at restaurants and bars. I saw a similar set up at Hanney's in downtown Phoenix.

roentarre said...

Your post is full of surprises and wonder. I like the wall mural in the image series here

Abe said...

Most interesting post. The fairy tale takes the cake.

cieldequimper said...

Olivier beat me to it! L'absinthe killed quite a few great French artists in an untimely fashion... Love your photos!

Eki Akhwan said...

i didn't know this kind of drink before ... hmmm ... should probably give it a try sometime.

Nice photos and an informative post, Julie.

Nancy said...

Oui! I want to become a member too. Great articles on Absinthe!

Clueless in boston said...

I was always intrigued by Absinthe from reading Hemingway and would love to try it. I would risk a little insanity for the green fairy. After all, I don't want to go peaceful ...

glenda said...

I have shared an Absinthe with friends. it was very nice. We took our time and were just fine. Thanks for all the info, very interesting.

Ash said...

Very interesting!

Per Stromsjo said...

Being green was never this intoxicating! Looks like a great drink for photography, I'd let someone else consume it when I'm done though.

Jacob said...

Wonderful photos and great commentary. I learned a lot. So, I'm going to have to try some absinthe...at home!

Layrayski said...

I have heard about absinthe and I love how described it. Makes me want to try one too! Are you sorry you didn't have a psychedelic experience? =)

Jim said...

So did you follow orders and sip?

Dusty Lens said...

Interesting drink vessel. i am curious now, how can you improve on ouzo?

JM said...

The 1st shot is just gorgeous!

Jackie said...

I've never had absinthe before but I have tried Zwack - I don't recommend it to be honest!! Great photos :)

~Cheryl said...

Avon just came out with a new parfume,Christian Lacroix's Absynthe! It doesn't smell like licorice.

Carraol said...

Exquisite post, strictly for the senses and inspiration. Where did I get a box of Green Fairies? Cheers from MC.

Marc said...

I like the fourth picture. Absinthe was only allowed again here a few years ago.

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