When I first filled out the Facebook survey for 100 Things to Eat Before You Die, I had not partaken of the green fairy. I had been interested in absinthe since I read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. In it, he described a mirky, milky liquid, and mentioned wormwood. A little search online led me to believe it was banned, and it was in some countries at some point in history, but more recently it has seen a revival.

This story takes place on August 17th, 2002.

#2 on 100 Things to Eat Before You Die – Absinthe

It all started with the wedding of my friend, Steven. We had recently gone on a snowboarding trip to Mt. Ruapehu, my wife and I, Steven and his then girlfriend, and our other friend Part and his girlfriend. On the way home, he proposed. WOO! Then came the bachelor party…


It was a pretty standard evening. We went to a vietnamese restaurant close to his house. Drove back there as his fiancée was having her hens night elsewhere, and proceeded to drink a lot of alcohol. We started with beer, as we usually do, and soon it became time to toast our soon-to-be-married friend. What better way to toast someone than with shots of alcohol?

As you can see, we had some Dimple Whiskey, Nuvo (I think it’s a liqueur of some sort), Belvedere Vodka, St. Remy Brandy, and Mata Hari Absinthe. Aside from the Nuvo which was simply delicious, I found the absinthe to be my favourite of the spirits. The very light anise flavour was refreshing, and to be honest, who cares what alcohol tastes like when you’ve had 6 beers and 4 shots already?

I felt like I was missing out on the ritual of absinthe, though. From my prior research on absinthe, I knew about the sugar-cube, and the dripping of ice cold water over the top. It might have even been mentioned in For Whom the Bell Tolls. I wanted to partake in that feeling of anticipation, of history. Instead, it was a quick pour and down the gullet.

The night ended with the man-of-honour asleep in his bed, his fiancée coming home and smashing her window accidentally, and then having a few drinks with us before we let them get some sleep.

One of my friends, present that evening, has also expressed a desire to drink absinthe again, properly. So I think I shall be meeting with the green fairy at least one more time before I die.


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