Home > Absinthe: A Documentary
Goths and Absinthe make a natural pair. The green drink has ornate, silver accoutrements, a ritual, is a misunderstood, underground beverage associated with European artists and so on. It’s Slytherin green, for crying out loud.
I tried the U.S. (i.e. non-wormwood)* version a few years ago and, as I’m not an enormous fan of anise, it didn’t do much for me. The ritual aspect and little spoon were the best parts and if I have the opportunity, I will try the real thing.
This is an intro to say that I was interested in Absinthe due to its cache, but I didn’t know a great deal about it, prior to watching the imaginatively documentary titled Absinthe: A Documentary .
After watching it, I came away knowing quite a bit more about the history of the drink. My favourite factoid was that it was probably developed by a woman and, pah!, that’s no good. Women, what do they know? So the recipe was purchased and made famous by a man. This is why there is dispute over where it originated–France or Switzerland.
Prior to watching the documentary, I knew that Absinthe wasn’t as insanity-inducing as people made it out to be for reasons found in number four on this list. So when brewers in the film began waxing poetical about how it made them feel I wondered how much of it was what they wanted to feel or thought they were supposed to be feeling. Some sort of placebo effect. Like giving a twelve year old a mint, telling them it’s ecstasy and watching them get ‘high’.
One of the people interviewed in the documentary is Ted Breaux, Wikipedia quotes him as saying, ‘the alleged secondary effects of absinthe may be caused by the fact that some of the herbal compounds in the drink act as stimulants, while others act as sedatives, creating an overall lucid effect of awakening.’ Which sounds like drinking strong coffee and alcohol simultaneously, so you’re very awake but also inebriated. I tried not-nearly diluted enough Kapali once and thought I was losing my mind, so if that’s what strong Absinthe is like then I can see where the reputation comes from.
Absinthe: a Documentary covers the history, the culture, the mystique and allure, the process of making Absinthe all over Europe, everything the average person interested in the drink could want to know. And it manages to do it in an incredibly dry way. (That’s not a beverage pun, it’s really a freakin’ dry documentary.) It held my interest enough to watch the entire thing, but I would not recommend it to someone who wasn’t already interested in Absinthe–it’s not the sort of thing you’d show to a friend to help explain why you find it fascinating.
I give it 3/5. It is a good primer for the already interested.
In this video (which Reznor hates, btw) Trent starts preparing a glass of Absinthe around the 1.50 mark. Once he drinks a bit there’s a breakdown and the palette goes from blues to harsh green to signify the madness that supposedly accompanies drinking Absinthe.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t include this:
*Correction, the U.S. version has always had wormwood, please see this post for more information about common myths surrounding absinthe.