Gustave Eiffel…and Absinthe Sorbet

A signed 1889 menu for a formal dinner honouring Gustave Eiffel, then at the pinnacle of his fame with the completion that year of the Eiffel Tower. After the entrées, a Sorbet a l’Absinthe was served as a palate cleanser. This is the first recorded reference to the use of absinthe in cooking, and also illustrates that absinthe still had a respectable image in society at this stage – by the end of the next decade it had been so demonized by the temperance movement that it’s inconceivable that it would have been served in any form at a prestigious dinner such as this one.

Below is the pricelist for Liqueurs Cusenier Absinthe & Kirschs, produced for the Universal Exhibition that accompanied the opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889.