Now Legal Absinthes Crawling Out of Wood(worm)work

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 14, 2008 2:56PM

2008_01_Absinthe_Ducros.jpgRemember in Moulin Rouge when Ewan McGregor's character drinks some green liquid, the camera tilts to a canted angle, the crazy music starts playing, and you felt like maybe someone had slipped a hallucinogen into your popcorn? The green liquid, of course, was absinthe, and its purported psychoactive properties have been well extolled by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Outkast, and Johnny Depp.

Known as the Green Fairy, absinthe is an anise-flavored (read: licorice) alcohol flavored with a number of herbs and spices, primarily wormwood. The key component of wormwood is a chemical called thujone, which is attributed with causing the hallucinations, violence, and addiction that caused the drink to be banned in most countries for decades. It's now known that absinthe contains very
little thujone and that its negative effects actually derived from shady distillation practices. Lucky for us, the ban against absinthe was lifted in the United States last summer. Lucid, the first absinthe brand allowed in the States since the ban was lifted, is now available at Lumen, Delilah's and the Violet Hour.

For those who don't believe the hype and want to try it for themselves, the Crimson Lounge at the Hotel Sax (333 N. Dearborn) is having a private tasting of K├╝bler, a Swiss absinthe, this evening from 8-11p.m. But you must RSVP to reserve your space.

Thanks, Kym.