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The Book Of Absinthe: A Cultural History


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#1 cuz

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 07:36 AM

The Book Of Absinthe: A Cultural History by Phil Baker.

I just finished reading this book. Not many pictures, but some interesting history.

What do you all think about this book?

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#2 Retrogarde

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:12 AM

Take the review of modern absinthe section, tear it out and throw it in the fire. The rest of the book is pretty fun. A little dated in places, but I agree it is an interesting overview.

He also makes a really good point: why didn't the absinthe resurgence come from Spain instead of Eastern Europe? Makes an interesting "what if?".
The basic tools of the absintheur are essentially a spoon, glass, sugar cube, chilled water, and absinthe. None of the other objects are actually necessary to prepare the drink, but they are imperative for instigating a type of visual hypnosis and bringing richness to the ceremony.
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#3 Brian Robinson

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 10:51 AM

For quite a few reasons. Here are two off the top of my head, since I was actually living in Spain during the 're-birth' of absinthe:

1) Absinthe isn't very popular there. It's generally accepted as a drink, but people prefer other types of anise flavored beverages, like Zoco. Even moreso, beer and fruity mixed drinks were the generally accepted nighlife drinks.

2) During the 90's, Spain was still going through a transitionary period called 'La Movida'. In a sense, it still is now. But the point there is that the nightlife in Spain was (and still is) a totally different beast than in Eastern Europe. Flaming shots weren't popular (and still aren't). Neither was anything that took a long time to prepare (traditional method).
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#4 cuz

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 10:59 AM

It was fun reading about the seedy dive in Barcelona (I think), where you can still drink absinthe with the hookers and junkies sitting around smiling at you as you get buzzed.And nobody bothers you there.

Edited by cuz, 23 January 2009 - 11:03 AM.


#5 Brian Robinson

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:03 AM

Yeah. That's an interesting place, I must say.
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#6 cuz

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:19 AM

I lived in Portugal many years ago as a kid (1971-1974), and remember places like that...
except I don't recall seeing any absinthe. Lots of aguardente, grilled sardines, roasted
sparrows and beer though. :tongue:

No drinking age, so it was quite fun!! My path to liver abuse was started very early on. :laugh:

Edited by cuz, 23 January 2009 - 11:49 AM.


#7 Gertz

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 03:47 AM

I think one reason that the absinthe resurgence originated in Eastern Europe was that it happened in the nineties, just after the fall of the Iron Curtain, when Prague was very much THE place to go for backpackers wanting to go somewhere off the beaten track (meaning: Somewhere else than their parents' preferred holiday destination, which would most likely be Spain).

Also, every tourist in Prague would go to the Café Slavia and see Viktor Oliva's painting of an absinthe drinker. With that painting, a bottle of Hill's in the very same bar and hordes of adventurous youngsters flashing their hard currency, the scene was certainly set for an absinth(e) craze.
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#8 OMG_Bill

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 05:25 AM

Now, that makes perfectly good sense. *smile*
Some folks may cringe each time I use the term "Booze" regarding these high quality drinks.
I mean no offense. There are bottles of extraordinary booze out there. I've tasted a few. Relax.

#9 Absinthe Ben

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 01:10 AM

Agreed! this entire thread was a great read! I may just have to hit amazon for some reading material soon.
At least it's not Le Tourment Vert...

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#10 Alan Moss

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:19 AM

He also makes a really good point: why didn't the absinthe resurgence come from Spain instead of Eastern Europe? Makes an interesting "what if?".

Wasn't it because George Rowley (Hills/La Fée) was posted to Prague in the 90's, and not to Madrid?
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