I just came back from Absinthe, one of San Francisco's more popular restaurants, and I feel I have to set a couple things straight about this legendary liquor that's purportedly caused Vincent van Gogh to cut off his ear in a fit of delusion.
I've always been curious about this banned liquor that's been portrayed as one of history's most villainous psychogenic beverage. Could it really have inspired the work of all those brilliant French impressionists? Or is it really the evil substance that's caused legions of men and women to waste away and look like zombies?
Apparently, the latter view was never substantiated, and thus after a ban that spanned almost a whole century, absinthe is legalized in the U.S. again last year.
Driven by curiosity, including this whole "ritual" of how it has to be prepared under a cold water fountain with paraphernalia that looks like you're about to perform lobotomy on someone, I had my first absinthe earlier this year, and just to make sure my experience is duplicable, again a small sip this evening.
All I have to say is:
(1) I did not feel like cutting off my ear after drinking it, more like my entire HEAD coz it gave me a huge headache
(2) I did not feel especially inspired, artistically or otherwise (too busy looking for the Exedrin bottle)
(3) It tastes like drinking liquid licorice with alcohol in it, in other words, ACKKK!!! Unless, of course, if you like licorice (ugh).
So, even though this legendary and once-clandestine liquor can now be purchased at your neighborhood BevMo, I don't think I'm running there anytime soon to get my own bottle. But if you think otherwise of absinthe (especially if you have good hallucinogenic experience with it), do share!
P.S. At the end of dinner, I found out that Absinthe (the restaurant)'s Executive Chef, Jamie Lauren, is on this season's Top Chef! That might just be another show I've gotta set on my Tivo now...