Papa’s Brew Is Back


Absinthe, that clever intoxication of literary and legendary yesterdays, has returned. The drink of choice for Hemingway‘s expatriated characters, in such works as The Sun Also Rises and For Whom The Bell Tolls is now resurrected as the drink of choice for patrons at L’Absinthe. Even though the restaurant has been serving it since 1995, it wasn’t officially served until 2009.

The wormwood-based elixir was banned by the FDA in 1917. While absinthe itself was never specifically cited, thujone, an ingredient of absinthe, was. Because large doses of thujone could lead to toxic convulsions and liver damage, any drink or food containing an excess of 10 ppm of thujone is prohibited in the United States. However, a later study determined that absinthe, as it was traditionally distilled in the 19th century, contained less than the proscribed amount of thujone and opened the way for U.S. sale and distribution.

“L’Absinthe serves absinthe using the traditional style, with a fountain that slowly drips ice water into the absinthe through a sugar cube resting on a spoon on top of the glass. The leisurely process releases the herbs in the absinthe and balances out the prominent anise flavor. Each serving at L’Absinthe ranges in price from $12 to $16, and varieties include La Clandestine, St. George Absinthe Verte, and the American-made Lucid.” (The Gothamist)

Let me close by saying, here’s to Jake Barnes and Lady Ashley,  Robert Jordan and Maria, and all those other Hemingwayesque heroes and victims of political, social and (what’s worse) romantic bewilderment: Everything old is truly new again. Indeed, it’s a great time in America again to be dreamily expatriated while being totally drunk?