Number 73: Louche Absinthe

12 Oct

Absinthe is abundant in Prague.  You can pretty much find it in any bar or souvenir shop, and there are even a couple bars devoted to absinthe alone.  One of them offered absinthe ice cream and absinthe coffee- the weird part about that place was that there was a couple with their infant sitting at one of the tables there.  I guess that’s one way to get your kid to sleep…

Anyways, I decided not to go to one of these amazing “absintheries,” as they’re called, but instead headed to the seediest looking bar I could find.  Why?  Who effing knows.  It was one of those basement bars where you go down a few steps, and for some reason it was about 95 degrees down there.  It also happened to be the one place in all of Prague where nobody spoke English.  Joy.

Dan and I struggled through the ordering process, then the guy brought out my supplies.  Absinthe, check.  Spoon, check (although it was just a normal spoon- not an actual slotted absinthe spoon).  Sugar, check.  Matches, check.  The only problem is that I thought the bartender was going to do it for me.  I didn’t have any idea what the hell I was doing.  So, following the trend of this trip, I made Dan do it 🙂

It was a little awkward, because the bartender decided to stand 5 feet away and watch us the whole time, as if we were going to burn the place down.  We ended up putting out the fire a bit early because he was making us nervous.  Because we didn’t let it burn long enough, the end result was a lighter-colored absinthe, but not the full milky-white that absinthe should be after burning (that’s what louche absinthe is).

The taste?  Oh man, I don’t even want to think about it, let alone describe it.  I think after my first sip, I described the taste to Dan as “the Devil’s vomit.”  It was like a combination of propane and licorice and it immediately sent my throat and stomach burning.  I was convinced I had just drunk acid.  It was similar in flavor to sambuca, as they’re both anise-flavored, but 10 times more offensive.

I had a couple more sips, but the 95-degree room plus the lighter fluid I was consuming were making me feel nauseous and dizzy.  We were in and out of the place in 10 minutes or less.

Nope, never again.  The only use I will ever have for absinthe in the future is to strip paint off walls or burn warts off my skin.  Horrendous is the only word I can think of to describe it.  Ugh, I’m done now.  The thought of it is making me nauseous.


10 Responses to “Number 73: Louche Absinthe”

  1. Laura in Cancun October 12, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    Well the picture is really cool.

  2. Big Onion October 12, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    I used to feel the same way about absinthe. “If it tastes just like sambuca or anisette, why spend a fortune on it?” My girlfriend has a small absinthe collection, and is a big fan, so she said, “Maybe you haven’t tried the right one.” Sure enough, she found one — yellow in color — that I absolutely adored. As soon as I get home I’ll let you know what the brand was, and I’d recommend giving it a shot.

    Absinthe is sort of like gin. Everyone has their own recipe, and while most of them have the same ingredients there’s always a bit of variation.

    Also, lighting it on fire is a crock, and does nothing but make it taste burnt. Hopefully you give it another shot in the future. 🙂

    • Big Onion October 12, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      Wait,I just realized … you didn’t water it down at all? My goodness, that stuff is like 60-70% alcohol straight! It needs to be diluted, not just to make it drinkable, but the water brings out the flavor and that’s where the louche (cloudiness, from the oils in the alcohol) shows up!

    • Big Onion October 12, 2011 at 11:33 am #

      Here’s what you need to do:

  3. IntenseGuy October 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    I enjoyed the description of the basement bar the best. 🙂 Hmmm… Dan is a lucky fellow, does he know that?

    Eyeballing your list – it looks like you are about 1/2 done… and then the extensions list… you know, the things that you discovered but weren’t put on the list… like… I dunno… Stripe Bass lips.

  4. Amy October 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I’ve heard of lighting a sugar cube on fire but never the absinthe itself. Then dripping water over the sugar cube to dilute the absinthe to your taste. I have had it in shot form before, it’s pretty treacherous. We have an absinthe bar here in Breckenridge that has a wide selection of absinthe… there may just be a flavor for you

  5. Bridget October 21, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    What??? This is insane! No words.

  6. Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic December 29, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    While I’ve never had this the “proper” way with the slotted spoon, and the sugar cube, or fire… I have tried this drink and I’m not a fan of the flavor at all – I HATE black licorice flavor… I will say however if you sip enough it packs a wicked buzz. I don’t recall hallucinating BUT there is a lot I don’t remember from that night. Thank goodness I was at home, this stuff was store bought and I wasn’t in a different country!


  1. Number 57: Dirty Gin Martini | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - November 10, 2011

    […] VERDICT While this was nothing compared to the absinthe I had in Prague, it was still completely undrinkable.  I have no idea how this is such a popular drink and, […]

  2. Number 76: Baijiu | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - March 13, 2012

    […] and what I drank almost burned a hole in my throat.  I don’t know if it was quite as bad as the absinthe I had in Prague, but it definitely made its way into my top 3 Drinks to Avoid list. Bookmark on Delicious Digg […]

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