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Little story

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So tonight, I was at a bar, which carried Pernod. Pernod may not be my favorite absinthe, but hell, it's still pretty damn amazing for a bar to carry any non-crap absinthe in Pittsburgh. So I order a glass, specifically asked for one sugar.

 

When it came, to my surprise, a slotted spoon with sugar was presented before me on top of a nice absinthe glass. A waiter poured roughly an ounce over the sugar, and to my horror, lit the cubes on fire. "NO!", I repeatedly exclaimed as I watched in slow motion. I blew out the fire, and they gave me a new slotted spoon with fresh sugar. I poured some of my ice water over the sugar and enjoyed some absinthe.

 

Now, my friends said this was douchy to do. Yeah, I understand why'd say that, but I've had burnt absinthe once before, and quite honestly, couldn't finish it.

 

Just wondering what you guys would do in the situation. If I had hesitated, they would have dumped the flaming spoon into the absinthe tainting it forever.

Edited by optional

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You were a paying customer, so if you didn't want it ruined (and honestly, like Pernod could use something to make it taste worse) you absolutely did the right thing. Since you were at a bar, you paid way more than it was worth anyway.

 

In the future, if you see a waiter or bartender pour the absinthe over the sugar cube you know the flame is coming next. If you can stop it before they pour it over the sugar, even better.

 

And if you can find a place that serves nicer brands than Pernod, and knows how to serve them, even betterer.

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I always tell waiters what I need exactly next to my glass, so they usually don't act on their own, but telling them not to burn anything isn't a bad idea either. However, stopping them in the last moment is still more proper than drinking (and paying for) a Pernod 68 that is even worse than it's supposed to :euro:

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Well said gentlemen.

If someone brought me a burning sugar cube or (heaven forbid) burning absinthe, they would take it back and if they were the least bit snitty, with a sound reprimand. I'd do the same thing if they brought my meal overcooked. I appreciate good service (and reward it) but abhor bad service.

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Now, my friends said this was douchy to do. Yeah, I understand why'd say that, but I've had burnt absinthe once before, and quite honestly, couldn't finish it.

Then they don't know enough about it to have a reasonable opinion.

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serving absinthe that way is a douchey thing to do. I've had people sugar it for me without my consent and gave 'em a bit o flak for it. If they set it on fire I'd unhesitatingly and loudly ask, "What the fuck do you think you're doing to my drink?" :devil:

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What Joe said.

 

Better yet, do what I've seen a few friends do, order it "no sugar, no fire" (unless you like sugar.)

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I had burnt absinthe once at a bar. I drank it because I never had burnt stuff before, and because I wanted to see what the bartender would do if I asked for the best stuff they had.

 

I don't think I'd do it again. Or drink the eyeball again either. I've pretty much stayed away from this bar since then actually.

 

I usually order absinthe at a bar with "no sugar and no fire", that is if they serve something worth drinking. One place had Jade NO for about a month but somehow they haven't gotten it in since. I've even talked most bartenders into letting me louche the glass myself as they became convinced that I was the expert.

 

It's a sad day when I'm an expert at anything.

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do what I've seen a few friends do, order it "no sugar, no fire" (unless you like sugar.)

I rarely order absinthe at a bar, but when I do, I say exactly this, and also tell them to bring extra water, since they almost always under-water it.

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The bars that serve absinthe here generally know how to serve it. They bring you a fountain, spoon and sugar and let you do it yourself. Most of these bars just carry Absente or Grande Absente. There is one "absinthe bar" here and they carry all the absinthe available at the SAQ but they know nothing about it. Ask what absinthe they recommend and its always Absente. Ask them about the Clandestine and they say it is more anisey than Absente. Absente is more bitter and traditional. In fact they describe every absinthe they have as how anisey it is and are usually totally backwards about it. I don't have a huge problem with staff not being familiar with every bottle on the shelf and being honest about it. But not knowing anything about absinthe at an absinthe bar drives me crazy. Yes at least they are not setting it on fire but if they want the absinthe bar thing to work then educate your goddamn staff.

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Just wondering what you guys would do in the situation.

 

I've never yet had this happen, but I'm thinking this is when it's appropriate to holler "Fire" in a crowded restaurant. :devil:

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Here in little old Roanoke Va. I've just discovered a place that serves absinthe. They even have a water fountain! One of the first things I asked when ordering my first glass from them was 'do you set it on fire?' Thankfully, I was told that it was illegal in the state of VA. Finally, I'm glad something is illegal! And I've enjoyed several glasses there since. :biggrin:

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I carry a small fire extinguisher for just such occasions.

 

This is no more douchey than sending back a porterhouse that's been cooked well-done. I'd stop the bartender if I could, and if I couldn't I'd politely refuse the drink and ask for one properly prepared and explain why. I've done both.

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Now I really want to be able to go "Uhh, it appears you overcooked my drink. I wanted a RAW absinthe."

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What caught me offguard was that they brought out a really cool looking absinthe glass with a fairy on the stem. The glass had a 1 oz marker etched into it. The spoon they brought out was also a good ~$15 spoon, so I figured they knew what they were doing.

 

Then I got the bill. That god damn Pernod was $14.50. That's not including the $5 gratuity.

 

Never going back there again.

Edited by optional

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I don't feel that you did anything wrong. Almost every time I order absinthe at a bar, even if they have a decent selection, the bartender or server tries to light it on fire. I explain why I won't allow them to do so. There are usually onlookers and I don't want them to get the wrong impression. I usually have decent conversations with the staff and other customers about it.

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