Scott Macdonald is passionate about absinthe – and just as much about absinthe antiques. He loves the history that surrounds the Green Fairy, and couldn’t help but dig deeper into it. He just completed all finishing touches on his book, Absinthe Antiques (now available on Absinthes.com). We’re grateful that he agreed to do a short interview with us, to talk about his book.
Here are the different ways of preparing an absinthe glass using antique – or modern – accoutrements:
Of course, the use of a carafe filled with ice-cold water was the most common and the very first known method for preparing an absinthe glass back in the 19th century; there are dozens of period photos and sketches showing this.
Pitchers were less widely used, especially in bustling bistros and cafés because of their fragility. Having said that, we have found numerous types of pitchers which were dedicated to the absinthe ritual and advertised as such in 1900’s catalogues.
Every year, the Absinthe Day is taking place at the absinthe museum in Auvers sur Oise, the famous town near Paris where Vincent Van Gogh spent the last days of his life painting numerous masterpieces. Marie-Claude Delahaye – curator of the absinthe museum and writer of numerous books on absinthe history and antiques – organizes an absinthe-related second-hand market each year in the museum garden and bistro.
Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge) from the last one which took place on May 20th 2012. A very convivial event where absinthe antiques collectors meet, talk, buy, sell and also drink a few absinthes around an absinthe fountain…
I love antique absinthe glasses. To me, each glass from the Belle Époque is a unique piece of art, with which you can feel and see the skills of the glassblower. The bubbles, inclusions, irregularities, colours, thicknesses, cuts and overall designs testify that absinthe glasses from the 19th and early 20th century are not really reproducible. Don’t get me wrong, I too have modern absinthe glasses at home for my tastings evenings, my favorites are the Pontarlier glass and the Bubble glass, they are great value for money, nicely handblown from original period glasses and they do the job perfectly, even though they’re just missing a soul from the past but I’m being a bit nitpicker here…
I’m not writing here to cry over past times anyway, but to make a bit of clarification on absinthe glasses: What is an absinthe glass? Who really used them? Why there were so many different designs?