Through the kindness of friends, I recently acquired a bottle of Lucid, the sort-of-recently introduced legal absinthe that’s now available here in Pennsylvania and in the rest of the U.S.
It’s a very pricey spirit, costing over $60 in PA and about that much elsewhere. Perhaps you’ve wondered, as I did, is it worth the cost? And does it it cause one to want to cut off his/her ear or otherwise see things as they otherwise are not?
Lucid is 62% alcohol — 124 proof — but one doesn’t drink it straight. You can either add chilled water, or suspend a sugar cube over an ounce and a half of the liquor and pour chilled water over it, melting the sugar into the drink. Once the water hits the absinthe, it turns opaque and white and looks appropriately mysterious.
Previously I’d bought Absente, which is pretty widely available in PA and is touted as absinthe-like. Lucid makes a much more interesting beverage: herbier and lighter, much prettier, less sugary, more complex. It’s also more expensive and harder to get, but the availability may improve over time (especially if by some miracle the PLCB is privatized).
As for the stories of absinthe causing hallucinations: a myth as far as I can tell. Granted, even diluted with sugar and water, this stuff is strong. Drink a couple of glasses and I bet you’ll be seeing pretty colors and swirling lights, but the wormwood won’t necessarily be the cause.
With that said, I confess that at this moment, as I drink a glass of this interesting beverage, my right ear feels hot. Not both ears — just the right one. A hallucination? Shades of Van Gogh? Let’s hope not. Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear, so it’s not quite the same anyway. But it does get one thinking….