A look back at the opening of the new absinthe shop in Freiburg ‘Alte Apotheke’

Last Saturday (17th December 2016) we officially opened our new absinthe shop in the heart of Freiburg, in the Black Forest, Germany. We have to admit to a certain amount of pride at how Die Alte Apotheke – The Old Pharmacy – has turned out after months of preparation.

Now we have the opportunity to introduce a lot more people to our favorite beverage, and to be able to enchant our visitors with the absinthe ritual in person. For us it’s important that everyone who comes through our doors can learn about absinthe – as much as they want to, that is – and gets the best advice possible from one of us.

With this goal in mind, we started the great task of how our shop would look, and deciding which absinthe to present (the answer – only what we would drink ourselves). Once that was decided, the the real work started: restoring and decorating the pharmacy and its beautiful original furniture within the space of only a couple of weeks.

Store from the outside
Our store from the outside.

Then came the big day of the opening. We started out feeling a mixture of exhaustion from all the preparations and nervous excitement at how the day would turn out. We had invited a lot of interesting people, but would they turn up? Yes. Would the people of Freiburg be interested in absinthe at all? Most definitely yes. Had we forgotten something? Fortunately not!

We welcomed everyone to our shop with a glass of very fine absinthe, or a Green Beast: a sweet lime juice and absinthe cocktail, mixed up by Andrew.

All ingredients for the cocktails
Ingredients for the cocktails.

We wanted to show that absinthe is an approachable, but with depth to discover, so the selection of absinthe available to try looked like this: Blanche Neige and La Clandestine in the clear category, and Francois Guy and Grön Opal in the green. We knew a lot of people would visit who had never tried absinthe before: Francois Guy and Blanche Neige would be ideal first sips.

Andrew handing over the first absinthe cocktails to Philippe Martin and his girlfriend.
Andrew handing over the first absinthe cocktails to Philippe Martin and his girlfriend.

The wonderful mood was sweetened even more by the Jazz accompaniment of the CineJazz duo, with Karsten Kramer on Rhodes Piano and Massimo Soavi on bass clarinet.

jazz band
The band.

We were really pleased when a number of absinthe distillers came to visit us. From France came Marie Bickel de Miscault from Devoille, and Alain Aureggio from Lemercier. Philippe Martin came from Switzerland, and from Germany came the teams behind Absinthe Vivide and Corvus Absinthe.

Our team together with the producers of Absinthe Corvus and Absinthe Vivide.
Our team together with the producers of Absinthe Corvus and Absinthe Vivide.

So many people dropped in to see what was going on and most of them stayed on to find out absinthe absinthe and enjoy a drink. The pharmacy was open for hundred and sixteen years, and so many Freiburg residents have a deep sentimental connection to the place. The interior of the pharmacy dates from the turn of the 40s into the 1950s – dark wooden paneling with impressive built-in clocks, shelves heaving with bottles, and a formidable glass-topped service counter with felt -lined display underneath (now home to an array of absinthe spoons). Naturally, a lot of our neighbors were keen to see what had happened to the pharmacy – a lot of them had been worried what would happen to the interior. So you can imagine our pride at showing the new old look!

interior of the pharmacy

Take a look for yourself: you can find photos of our opening event and directions to the Alte Apotheke Absinthe shop here.

Alte Apotheke – Absinth und Spirituosen
Klarastr. 60
79106 Freiburg

Here are the opening hours of our shop:

Monday closed
Tuesday 11:00 – 19:00
Wednesday 11:00 – 19:00
Thursday 11:00 – 19:00
Friday 11:00 – 19:00
Saturday 10:00 – 15:00
Sunday closed

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