La fée verteas it was affectionately referred to by the French, was the first nickname created for the infamous drop, meaning 'the green lady'. Later, this evolved a little more and translated roughly into it's now more commonly known nickname: 'the green fairy'.
Absinthe; the scandalised green bohemian liquor we've all heard of, but know little about, is far more beautiful, fascinating and cloaked in romantic ritual than I'd ever imagined.
To truly immerse yourself in the absinthe experience, make your way to Absinthesalon (Absinthe salon) at 87 Albion Street in Surry Hills and prepare to take part in the real deal. Remember the 'tradition' of lighting absinthe-soaked sugar before stirring it through a shot and throwing it down your throat? That movement was created in the 1990's to mask seriously crappy absinthe, which didn't have the capacity to cloud as all good absinthe should. Who would've thought!
SImply setting foot inside the mysterious shop front entrance to Absinthesalon is your very first step in the right direction: well away from those false rituals we've all heard of and most probably taken part in a few times before. FORGET THEM! You won't find any of that inside the salon.
Once inside you are guided into the Absinthe room, which is filled with French cafe-style seating and tables with traditional absinthe fountains, gothic glassware and the odd gargoyle peering over your shoulder.
You'll feel as though you've been transported back in time to the era where you can almost picture the short and drunken Toulouse-Lautrec, 'Earthquake' in hand, stumbling through the room at any moment. Although, in all honesty, he'd be well and truly out of place within the walls of this beauty as it is far more tasteful than the watering holes he frequented in Montmartre at the turn of the 20th Century.
It is the perfect setting and one that's even more impressive in person.
Once you're seated inside the stunning room for service, the knowledgeable and wonderful people of the salon will talk you through the wide range of what's on offer and then show you the traditional method of consuming the green tipple, while developing an appreciation of what is sometimes referred to as the 'holy trinity' of absinthe: a complex combination of fennel, anise and wormwood.
The experience takes you on a journey through time and across the flavours of your tastebuds. It is intriguing and definitely worth returning for again and again.
As far as memorable foodie and bar experiences go, this one is up there with the best of them and is something that should be on the 'to do list' of every sydneysider and visitor alike.
Worth remembering and what works exceptionally well is the limit of three absinthes per person. This allows you to move through a range of tastes and preserve your palate to truly appreciate the complexity of what you'll be experiencing. Alcohol volume for absinthe ranges from around 45-74%.
With that in mind, the limit is more than adequate for also preserving a little bit of sobriety...
We don't want to lose any ears!
On the night we attended we had a group of seven and booked in advance. We we placed on tables next to each other and served as individual tables by the amazing team. We couldn't recommend Absinthesalon highly enough. It was brilliant from beginning to end and we are looking forward to getting back there again soon.
Options at the Absinthe Salon begin at $18 and each one is well worth every cent.
Yes and highly recommended
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