In a couple of previous articles “From 50mm to 2150mm: A review of absinthe spoons” and “The origins of absinthe spoons“, we had already dived into the world of absinthe spoons, their origins, how they’re meant to be used, their classifications and a few key numbers, but we hadn’t really talked about the different kinds of spoons that existed back in the good old days.
An absinthe spoon is the most emblematic and unavoidable accessory of the true absinthe ritual from the Belle Époque.
In David Nathan-Maister’s book “The Absinthe Encyclopedia” and on the “Musée Virtuel de l’Absinthe”, absinthe spoons are classified in 6 different categories.
If we closer analyze the spoons which were used to hold the piece of sugar, we see 6 different kinds, to which we can add the Toulouse-Lautrec spoon, a very controversial spoon among French collectors. Was it really the spoon of Lautrec? Has the painter designed it himself? Does it really show his monogram? The doubt remains…
Here you will find a little summary of the main 6 categories of absinthe spoons. We won’t talk about the seventh one which is still a big mystery for us.
1. The perforated spoons
The perforated absinthe spoons are the most widespread spoons for the absinthe ritual, they are unavoidable. They exist in many different varieties showing many different and unique designs.
2. The Grills
The Grills are mostly originating from Switzerland and are also called “Les Rondes” (the rounds). As their name indicates, these spoons have a main central grill – often of a round shape – on which the piece of sugar is placed. The grill can be in a shape of a flower or even a scallop!
3. The long spoons
The long spoons were quite scarce. A little perforated sugar holder was located In the middle of the handle of a long spoon (like a jam spoon). Some of the larger “East” glasses can only be used with this kind of spoon.
4. The Eiffel Tower spoons
The “Eiffel Tower” spoons were especially made for the Eiffel Tower unveiling at the Exposition Universelle held in Paris from May to October 1889. Unfortunately, fakes of these spoons are on the market today and it’s quite difficult to differentiate them. So you are probably asking yourself “how to differentiate them then?”. Unfortunately, only experts can do it.
Feel free to contact Marc Thuillier on this subject, he manages our absinthe antiques website Absinthe Originals and he has a good eye.
You’ll find a modern replica of the Eiffel Tower absinthe spoons here.
5. The Wormwood Leaves spoons
The Wormwood Leaves spoons are without a doubt the most beautiful absinthe spoons. The part on which the sugar is placed is composed of beautifully intertwined wormwood leaves.
6. The “Poilu” spoons
The name “Poilu” refers to the French soldiers during World War I. These spoons were made in the trenches when the soldiers were getting bored, waiting for battles for weeks. They were usually made from secondary raw material, such as aluminum or brass from the bombshells. Trench crafts were very widespread, a lot of various items (lighters, inkwells, vases, knives, etc) were made by soldiers as souvenirs for their families.
Absinthe Drippers – a clever alternative to absinthe spoons
One alternative to the absinthe spoon is the “absinthe dripper“, also called “absinthe brouilleur“. Its particularity is that it fits the opening of the glass. It can be made of glass or metal. An absinthe dripper replaces absinthe fountains or absinthe carafes.
I hope that you enjoyed this little chapter on the different absinthe spoons categories. You can see some of them by visiting our webpage dedicated to absinthe spoons and silver absinthe spoons crafted by Kirk Burkett.
“L’ABSINTHE – Son Histoire” Book, by Marie-Claude Delahaye.
Le Musée de l’Absinthe à Auvers-sur-Oise: “Réponse à des questions fréquentes à propos des cuillères à absinthe“.
“The Absinthe Encyclopedia” Book, by David Nathan-Maister.