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Absinthe in old New York photos: You find-the-bottle game!

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Finding absinthe in a photo of a cafe in 1900 Paris might be like finding the udders on a cow-- easy.

in a photo of 1900 New York, more like finding the udders on a hamster. You might need a magnifying glass. :twitchsmile:

So click the links, us the built in magnification bar, and you can actually read the labels on the bottles clearly (or at least clearly enough)


First, if you are reading this on a hand held smart phone, come back later.

I recommend a good tablet minimum, or a laptop or desktop.


This may take some time, this is a game of sorts, the point being for you to have fun exploring the details.

A lot to see, maybe a lot to read on some posts. So come back when you have the time, relax, drip a glass, and dive into the picture- A little time traveling awaits! :euro:

Not just a game. This is also 'academic' evaluation of primary sources, to maybe learn something new.
Some do's and don'ts:


*Post a zoom or crop from a picture, It is against the fair use policy of the host website :3869-sadbanana:

* Post a 'spoiler' like " I found it! its on the top shelf on the right" :no2:


* mention other interesting things you see, besides the specified "target"

ok to ask for instructions or point out problems.

Give up? PM me and I'll tell you exactly where to look, ;)



The pictures are from the extensive collection of high resolutions scans from the Museum of the City of New York.

Please see portal, information, terms and conditions, about, and whatnot here


do note that these picture are offered for sale, digitally or you can order prints.

So, as I understand, I can post a small lower res. photo,


One last thing, you will need to know what bottles of 1900-1910 ish Pernod Fils and Eduard Pernod look like. So if you are a noob, go look at a couple of examples. center three bottles, here http://www.oxygenee.com/iframe-2/

(PF and EP are the only things so far that I have positively identified)


Now here we go...

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Photo Number One

here is what you do. Click the link, then click on the magnifying glass on the bottom right of the photo NOT the "larger Image" button.



See the white slider bar on the top right? use that to magnify and zoom in, maybe try about 30-50%. to search

then click and hold to move the image within the frame. See something interesting, zoom in further.

It may take some practice, be patient and you'll get the hang of it.


This photo is from the Byron Collection. The subject is G.S Nicolas and co. the historic importers for Pernod Fils. 1902

What to Find:

==Target one: you will find the famous "Pontarlier" advertising chromo. hanging on the wall. This may be the only known live photo of that picture hanging in America!!


==Target two: one bottle of Pernod Fils spotted.

(Other interesting things to see: Check out the large magnum plus size bottles. The bosses having a little champagne party. and it seems like some ^*&^ $& can't hit the spittoon :angry: )


click here






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Photo Two

Time out of searching for absinthe, for a little Kirschwasser. I am pointing this out because you will find this bottle in some of the following photos, so don't mistake it for absinthe, because of the large white Swiss Cross. Both Pernod Fils and Edouard Pernod made a Kirschwasser and they were imported together. The Kw. usually ran about 10 to 20 cents more per bottle than the absinthe. The Kw and the absinthe seem to be about equal in popularity. Best I can make out, above the Swiss Cross reads: ???? Kirschwasser. Below the cross, Edouard Pernod a Couvet


This photo from the Byron collection, Maillard Company, a very famous luxury confectionery company. We can assume that the Kirschwasser was used as a filling for some goodies. Only bottles in the picture, so you should have no trouble finding them.

High res photo here






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Picture Number Three


This one is my favorite. An unidentified cafe, 1899. A lot of cool things to look at here. Check out the little single serving size topettes on the center shelf. These little bottles were used for many things, not just absinthe. Among them you will see the Edouard Pernod Kirschwasser. That's not the absinthe bottle so keep looking.


==Target one:

Find the Edouard Pernod Absinthe. You can barely make out the word GREEN on the bottom of the label. These sub labels were added for the US market.


other things to see are all the cool decanters and other bar ware around the ice well.

and see if you can find the Vin Mariani in the paper wrapped bottle. That was a famous coca tonic wine that had a small amount of cocaine, and was endorsed by The Pope!


Take you time with this one,

clicky here






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Picture Number Four


Another from the Byron Collection 1902. The prep area from the Hotel Manhattan. This hotel at 16 1/2 stories was once the tallest hotel in the world when built. Demolished in the 1960's



Find the Edouard Pernod. This one has the WHITE sub label.

oh, and you'll find that Kirschwasser again. I wish I could post a clear picture of that KW label. but I can't find an example. Seems no one out there collects antique Kirschwasser labels.


go here






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Picture Number Five


Bat Masterson's favorite absinthe glass! (Umm maybe.) This is from the Hotel Metropole, ca 1913. After the 1912 importation ban, but before the 1917 NYC municipal ban on the retail sale of existing stocks of absinthe.


This is the only "no doubt about it" example of a purpose made absinthe glass I could find, and this one has a glass dripper on top!


Absinthe frappe with crushed ice sweetened with a dash of gum or syrup and or anisette was the way we yanks drank it. Next most common was with brouilleurs like seen here, for a French drip style..except in was common to call the combination of the glass and dripper a 'top half' and 'bottom half' of the absinthe glass in many of the old bar manuals.


So what about Bat Masterson then? Well, the first fact I found about Hotel Metropole that jumped out of google land was that the famous Wild West gunslinger lawman was a resident here about this time. He retired from law enforcement and became a syndicated New York sports writer.

Then if he ever fancied himself an absinthe drip, then that might have been his glass.

The hotel is still extant as the Casablanca. (about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Metropole_%28New_York_City%29)


Now see if you can find that glass. this one may be hard, but I'll give you a clue. It may look like two glasses at first, but what you see is a reflection in the mirror.

Byron company collection, Billie Considine's bar at the Hotel Metropole, ca 1913








Edited by TheLoucheyMonster!

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Picture number six


What was it like to go into a liquor store and shop for absinthe in 1910? Here is a tip for you, time traveler. :euro:

Go to 496 West Broadway and visit J Personeni's place. They specialize in imported wines, liquors, drugs, perfumes and other apothecary goods, mostly from Italy.

If you walk in the door the liquor department is on your left. The view in this picture here. (The drugstore department is behind you, can be seen in another photo)



Can you find any absinthe? I didn't . Maybe I'll look around some, and check out those cool looking apothecary and candy jars....


Oh! Wait! There is that Swissy Kirschwasser Stuff! That means they could have absinthe I'm bettin' ya.

Maybe check this photo again

Wurts Bros. collection, ca 1910,




Maybe they got it in the back room......post-3372-0-04560200-1419769833_thumb.jpg




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Picture number seven


Pedersoneni's back tasting room! There they are! Sittin' there with ol' Victor Emanual, King o' It-ley's picture on da wall!


I told ya, if you find that Kirswasser stuff, they gotta have absinthe! :twitchsmile:



a bottle of Pernod Fils GREEN and possibly next to it, a bottle of Edouard (partially obscured) Two! The best selection in New York! :yahoo:





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Very cool. Thanks for sharing your finds.


I really love the glass and dripper in picture 5, just like in this NY barware catalogue from 1900:




And the wrapped bottles of Absinthe Edouard Pernod in picture 6 are amazing too, you can even see the straw protection under the tissue paper.

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In Picture 6!

Nice catch Rob and Marc. I didn't see those Edouard bottles wrapped in paper! :drunk:

Yes it looks like that one shelf has half Kirsch and half absinthe.

The bottle of Kw I found was someplace else in the pic


And that is what might of happened had I walked into that store back in the day-- walk around, don't find it-- then ask-- and have someone point them out :euro:


@ Songcatcher Yes that was kinda funny

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Louchy, you're a total freak. I love this thread! :cheers:


Here is how I started out.

I saw this section from a 1907 Spirits magazine, which led me to the G.S. Nicolas photo."picture one" . and after that I started looking at all the bar, cafe, hotel &c photos.


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I have a few more pics that didn't make it into the 'game' that I want to look at again.


But in the mean time, If you want to explore the J. Personeni store more (pictures 6 and 7)

A good study of how a c 1910 liquor firm would operate, see these



Oh, and one of the office views has a 1910 calender on the wall, so the date is dead on correct.

Some of the dates are for a collection by the original source, and may be off for an individual photo.

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Gwydion, could you please correct the title of this topic? It says "Absinithe" instead of "Absinthe".


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Here are a couple of false "absinthe fountain" pics:

The first one looks like it could be for plain ice water, or perhaps an infusion dispenser for lemonade or iced tea? All I can make out is ice floating.

you can also see another of these interesting globes at the far end of the bar





The second glass globe-with-a-spigot gismo is a little hard to spot, but look to the left of the cash register.

Whats this? an electric cord and a switch? The electric absinthe fountain? :mbanana: (Um, no)



Here is what it actually is,


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