One of our favorite haunts in New Orleans is Jean Lafitte’s Old Absinthe House .
It has a place of honor in the heart of the French Quarter on the corner of the street that defines New Orleans – Bourbon Street, (Rue Bourbon) and Bienville (Rue Bienville) named for one of the explorers to settle in the area.
There was just one small problem, their signature drink was illegal. The prohibitionists convinced lawmakers that Absinthe would make you looney, hallucinate or a mass murderer.
Absinthe was banned in America in 1912 because of health concerns fanned by some of the same anti-alcohol forces who would later push through Prohibition.
The ban was effectively lifted after WWII, but nobody noticed, or perhaps they didn’t care because Absinthe apparently has a pretty bad taste. Or it’s an acquired taste, kinda like beer. Have you heard of anybody that liked their first swig of beer?
Here’s how some of the “bad” Absinthe has been described:
- looked like radiator fluid/tasted like copper
- color of reactor cooling fluid (by a nuclear engineer)
Absinthe aficionados agree that a lot of absinthe isn’t very good.
“Before Hurricane Katrina destroyed a lot of my things, I had a very extensive collection of bad absinthe,” said T. A. Breaux, a former resident of New Orleans who designed one of the new absinthes, Lucid.
Absinthe means undrinkable.
Sure looks like an honest-to-goodness, commercial, US-made absinthe is coming to a shelf near you.
Here’s the description of an excellent Absinthe of InAbsinthe.com (great blog name)
Full of scents and tastes, including an almost cinnamon-like “sting” to the tongue, Montmartre should prove to be a long time favorite here at InAbsinthia. It’s unique spicy character will be too much for some, though.
Absinthe in The Old Absinthe House will probably taste better just because of where it’s being tasted. That is, if they serve it. You would think the bar that made the drink famous and infamous would be all over this announcement of it being legal again.
Alas, their website is makes no mention. Maybe they are too busy serving Absinthe House Frappe. I hope so.