A Serious Absinthe Drinker

by James on May 27, 2010

“I take sugar with it” seems an innocuous enough remark but to Paul-Marie Verlaine, the French poet and granddaddy of absinthe drinkers this was more this was more like “a sort of war-cry” as one contemporary dryly remarked. When Verlaine was on absinthe there was often mayhem and destruction, for absinthe raised all the devils that plagued him. Towards the end of his life he was a sorry fellow who had strangers buy absinthe for him in return for recounting tales of his Bohemian debauchery.

It is certainly true that Verlaine was a troubled soul; not surprisingly so, after being raised in a house which contained the pickled foetuses of his mother’s many miscarriages! Verlaine was also sexually adventurous, and, like Oscar Wilde, was imprisoned for homosexuality.

Verlaine’s equivalent of Bosie was the anarchic French poet Arthur Rimbaud, with whom he rampaged across Europe drunk on absinthe. Verlaine later lamented their care-free lifestyle, noting the unfortunate loss of some of Rimbaud’s ingenious verse:

“That dastardly Rimbaud and I flogged them along with lots of other things to pay for absinthes and cigars,” he admitted.

Although Verlaine’s poetry is a clear testament to his incredible talent, there was another Paul Verlaine. It was the Verlaine that set fire to his wife’s hair, he who threatened his elderly mother with a knife, and he who ended his days in drunken squalor in the company of his bizarre secretary, Bibi-la-Purre, a mad figure with an outlandish bouquet of flowers in his tatty, but once grand, overcoat and a battered top hat.

Whether absinthe was Verlaine’s destruction or his muse is open to question. The answer is probably both. As Verlaine said, “Moi, ma gloire n’est qu’une humble absinthe ephemere,” or My glory is only a humble ephemeral absinthe.


Absinthe: The drink of the Green Hour

by James on July 9, 2009

The absinthe drink is a very versatile beverage; it can be drunk the traditional way (louched with water), in cocktails, as an aperitif or served as the featured drink of a hip party. But during the Belle Epoque, the most popular time to indulge was the Green Hour (L’Heure Verte or L’Heure Absinthe) - the time starting at five o’clock when the French took absinthe as their favourite aperitif. [Read full article…]


Mansinthe, Cerberus, and Marilyn

by James on June 5, 2009

Marilyn Manson says he doesn’t drink Mansinthe, his own absinthe creation, in the London Times. [Read full article…]


The history of absinthe is very much the story of famous absinthe drinkers. Today we will take a look back at two of them, Henri and Vincent, two wild figures who grace the pages of the absinthe history books like no others. This is the story of a walking cane and the mystery of an chopped ear! [Read full article…]

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Thujone in Absinthe: Low or High?

by James on May 2, 2009

What is thujone and what are thujone effects? The wormwood plant has an active ingredient called thujone (thuyone in French), a monoterpene ketone, and absinthe drinkers have long noted the difference between low thujone and high thujone absinthes. [Read full article…]


How to Correctly Prepare Absinthe

by James on April 24, 2009

To make absinthe is not that difficult, you just need a measure of absinthe, a glass, and ice cold water! The important thing to remember is that absinthe is a concentrate and should never really be taken neat. [Read full article…]

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Is Thujone Free Absinthe the Real Deal?

by James on March 7, 2009

What is thujone free absinthe and should you buy absinthe without thujone? [Read full article…]


Heston Blumenthal’s Absinthe Jelly

by James on March 1, 2009

“I’ve got no hallucinations yet,but I always think bananas taste better with three-legged cows in a vegetable shop.”

[Read full article…]

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Hello world!

by James on February 11, 2009

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!