The forbidden fruit
Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? Yes, we are talking about absinthe, which is experiencing a revival. Although much maligned, but poorly understood, absinthe liquor is now available from a few reputable sources.
Most of the stuff on the market today is garbage. It is usually cheap alcohol which is mixed in with extracts and flavorings. It is bitter and harsh. However, when distilled properly, absinthe loses much of the bitterness. Furthermore, the distilling process eliminates almost all of the toxin thujone, which people erroneously associated with the uniquely intoxicating feel of absinthe.
Absinthe is drunk by performing an elaborate ritual - almost like the Japanese Tea ceremony. A special glass holds a "dose" of absinthe. A perforated spoon with a sugar cube is put over the glass, and water is poured over the spoon into the glass. When the water hits the liquor, it releases herbal oils which cause the liquid to "louche" or turn cloudy, distinctive green.
Although it is illegal to purchase absinthe in the US or import it into this country, it is not illegal to possess it. Why would anyone try it? Well, Oscar Wilde said - “After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
For about 55 GBP (about $95 USD) you can order a bottle of the good stuff on the Internet. For another 15 pounds you can buy the fancy spoon. It would be quite an experience except I am 99.98% sure that it is not kosher. The base for absinthe is grape alcohol and I cannot see how it could possibly be kosher. C'est la vie :(