I recently discovered that Absinthe is now legal to sell in the United States (funny how laws change when there is money to be made). For a very long time, it was illegal to import or sell Absinthe in the US (although it was mostly legal to own and consume -- weird). Most of the hype came from the fact that Absinthe contains wormwood, which is rumored to have hallucinogenic properties (enter the ‘green fairy’ (also hotly played by Kylie Minogue in the film Moulin Rouge)). It was also rumored to have driven people to the brink of insanity. So I figured: I gotta try me some of that!

In truth, Absinthe really got a bad rap. Most of the toxicity came from improper distilling and storage, and wormwood has been cleared A-OK by the FDA (and, as it turns out, doesn’t really produce hallucinations). Darn -- I was hoping to take an F-14 ride to my castle and jam with the Beatles.

So, I drove over to our local liquor store and picked-up a bottle of USA-approved absinthe (wormwood and all). The fancy bottle came in a fancy box along with a guide to drinking absinthe.

Here, according to the bottle, is the time honored method of preparing absinthe:

  1. Pour 1 oz of absinthe into a glass
  2. Place a slotted spoon on top of the glass
  3. Place a sugar cube on the slotted spoon
  4. Slowly drip 3 oz of ice-cold water over the sugar cube so that the water/sugar mixture falls into the absinthe.
  5. Consume copious amounts
  6. See green fairies and practice your best pick-up lines (unless your green fairly looks more like the Jolly Green Giant and less like Kylie)
I had everything I needed: the absinthe, the water, the sugar, and even a fancy slotted spoon. What I didn’t have was a way to ‘slowly drip’ the ice-cold water over the sugar cube. I did a bit more research and discovered that they actually make a device called an absinthe fountain; the sole function of which is to slowly drip the ice-cold water onto the sugar cube. Cool! Unfortunately, the price of this marvel of engineering hovered around $60 (which is a bit steep for a casual green fairy hunter -- not to mention it is a pretty big item to store when you aren’t mixing your green fairy bait).

What’s a modern day bohemian to do?

Just like other times in my life when I am faced with a huge problem or challenge, I did the only thing I could do; I went to Home Depot. There had to be a way to create a small, cheap, and effective absinthe fountain.

My solution was unique, effective, and dirt cheap; but you could hardly describe it as elegant. Basically, I used the body of a sprinkler, some brass reduction fittings, an ice-machine line water valve, and 7 inches of ice-machine tubing (and yes, it is all clipped to a banana stand). See the pics below:




So, when all was said and done, I never did find my elusive Kylie-looking green fairy. But, it was fun and my MacGyver invention really did the trick! I’m not sure we’ll start pouring absinthe over our breakfast cereal, but it was a very interesting drink. Reactions varied from ‘good’ to ‘that tastes like licking your arm after putting on perfume’ -- a pretty wide range.


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