When you are a young lad in your early 20’s, you have certain assumptions about what your body can and cannot handle when it comes to beverages of a spiritual nature. Those assumptions usually involve you being invincible and more awesome than all the other schmucks who have issued warnings to the contrary – “Yeah, sure, they had problems… but I’m awesome”. If you have no idea what I’m talking about you’re either incredilame or someone I should probably understudy.
I’ve always been curious when it came to absinthe. I mean the stories about what it can do to you seem so crazy that there’s no way they could be fake, right? Floating green fairies that carry you to your magical new home among the forest where the critters knit you a leaf blanket of peace and wonder – yummy yummy happy times! The fact that it is pretty much banned in North America made me want it even more – especially as I found myself in Australia and there was a bottle staring me right on the shelf. $80 a bottle? Sign me up!
Oh man you have no idea how excited I was. I was researching what was in it, the different kinds, where you could buy it, which countries sold different kinds and which had the most wormwood in it. Before even tasting it, I was already looking into what different drinks could be made with absinthe, planning to incorporate it into my regular boozing rotation. Ernest Hemmingway enjoyed absinthe in a drink he called ‘Death in the Afternoon’. If Hemmingway enjoyed it, how could it be bad?
The day arrived of my maiden voyage and I cracked out the bottle for a group of friends and myself: all curious to have some and all having already consumed a considerable amount of other sauces in the interim. Probably not the wisest of choices, but nobody every said grad students were sensible.
After the first sip, I think I knew this stuff wasn’t for me. Something about tasting like paint thinner and stirring childhood memories of unsavoury medicinal elixirs invoked unpleasant sensations on my taste buds. I wasn’t expecting it to taste like candy but… well… what’s wrong with that? When people say something is an acquired taste that usually means it sucks balls – so bottoms up! I was going to make an acquisition.
Shot after shot went down and the friends faded away, replaced by others eager to give it a try. My roommate from Mallorca, Joaquin, showed me a different way to drink it – light it on fire and then take the shot. We polished off another 1/3 of the bottle in between a kick ass house party we somehow started having while I was riding the wave that can only come from 80% alcohol. That was when I knew I needed to vomit.
As silent as the teal spectre that had enshrouded my being, I withdrew to my chamber to banish it to an ivory dungeon, or in other words, I snuck into my room to spew in the toilet. Some people hate throwing up – I see it as a means to an end, and that end leads to me not feeling like death.
Probably 20 minutes went by when people noticed I wasn’t there – I know this because in between retching I could hear them asking about me. That is nice, I thought. Also, unfortunately there is this thing called ‘safety’ where you should not lock your door when throwing up and if you have done this, people will persist in banging on it until you open it to see if you are okay. Not cool. Let me puke in peace.
After two hours of bed spins and crawling between resting places, I finally exorcised the demon and could sleep. The next morning I came to a realization – absinthe blows. Maybe connoisseurs will claim I did it ‘wrong’ or didn’t have the right stuff but I don’t care. It’s expensive, isn’t a magical fairy drink and to this day the thought of the smell of it brings an almost Pavlovian reaction from my stomach. Absinthe joins tequila on my banned substances list but enjoys the distinction of being placed there after one night.
Leave the crazy liquors for the self-destructive writers – I’m going to stick to beer. And wine. And rum and vodka. They only make me puke on a semi-regular basis.
Damn those people persistantly wanting to check if your alright when your chucking. You’re throwing up so you -will- be alright… go away!
I had the same desire to see the magical green fairies and man, after about 5-shots I had to swap back to Vodka. That stuff is nasty and there were no pretty fairies! =( What a scam!
There may be no fairies with vodka but at least it mixes well and doesn’t promise lies lol
Absinthe is the reason I had thrown up and gone home by midnight.. at my own birthday!
Those little green fairies are more like goblins hell bent on destroying fun!
Midnight? Wow… I was so bad after my bender my girlfriend ditched me to go out to a bar. That being said, I did not want her company when I was being haunted by booze goblins. That’s a war for one…
That shit sounds like it would tear a hole in my stomach! Fuck!
Don’t forget your soul, as well!
I had pretty much the same experience I tried it and was loathed to even look at a bottle again! However that 70&-80% stuff sold in the supermarkets or liquor stores is not technically the pure stuff! Also downing shots is apparently not the way to drink it?!
Years late I was offered an absinthe in Eastern Europe being a bit older and a little drunk i thought i’d give it a go. It was made with that special spoon with the sugar and flames etc and I have to say it was nowhere near as bad as the stuff I had shots of! I enjoyed revisiting the drink but only had the one 🙂
Oh yeah… there’s the ‘real’ stuff, which can be said about any alcohol, and then there is the sludge the proles drink. That being said, special spoons and sugar fire can make anything taste awesome!
I’ve had it, but only a few shots which may be why I didn’t puke.
See, you would be wiser than I lol
i gotta tell you man, this was awesome. i haven’t had absinthe either, but all of that other stuff you were talking about is spot on. i still wanna try it, and i’m kinda perturbed that none of my cousins mentioned it when i visited australia a few years ago. jerks. I’d like to say maybe don’t drink it in the way you did, but at the same time, if you’re gona drink, DRINK. so you can’t be faulted for that. I’d probably do the same thing.
That’s what I figured too.. go balls out. However, drinking something that is at least 2x more concentrated than what you are used to is like… well maybe putting your balls a little too far out. It’s one of those things where you know you shouldn’t, you’ve been advised multiple times not to and you may have even seen the effects and hell, you’re not even naive enough to say ‘that won’t happen to me’ but you want to bask in the awesomeness of the experience.. good or bad. I fully support your choice to not heed my advice as I would do the same lol.