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> In search of Absinth, In British Columbia
MrGreenGenes
post May 10 2004, 11:17 PM
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Hello folks!

First a personal announcement: I got married last week! We took our honeymoon in British Columbia, Canada, land of legal absinthe, or should I say, absinth. Yes, I know that the only thing we say about Hills on this forum is "It's swill! Don't buy it!" But I was still curious to see what the the fuss was about, and to find out first hand if it is really as terrible as everyone says.

So here's an account of what we did on our honeymoon, at least the parts that are on topic for this forum.

We spent the first day in Victoria on Vancouver Island. When we sat down for dinner and the waiter asked us if he could bring us drinks, I asked in the bar served absinthe. "Unfortunately, it does not," the waiter replied.

After dinner we strolled into downtown and found a liquor store. This store carried two varieties, Hills and Absente, priced at $98 and $76 respectively. I've read online that Absente does not contain wormwood and is therefore not a real absinthe, although the back lable does have a nice diagram of water dripping into a sugar cube on a spoon over a glass.

Well, that was way too much money to spend on something that either is not real absinthe, or the world's worst absinthe (from what I'd read).

Neither brand was available in mini-bottles and the staff could not recommend to me a bar that served it, so I moved on.

....

Not surprisingly, the bar at that hotel we stayed at in downtown Vancouver didn't serve absinthe eather, but they recommended a place called "Fluids" on the next block.

As we entered Fluids, I got excited thinking this would be it. The place looks like a discoteque with Jetsons decor for people who value style and hipness over substance. But alas, they weren't even open yet, and no absinthe.

A few blocks down the road there's a tower with a revolving resturant that looks sort of like a smaller verison of Seattle's spece needle. My wife wanted to go up to the bar to see if they had absinthe, but I was a bit shy about making a fool of myself. So she walks up to the girl selling the elevator tickets and asks if the bar at the top had absinthe.

She places a phone call, and told us, yes, they do. So we rode the glass elevator to the "Top of Vancouver" and took a table in the lounge. Nope, the girl on the phone was mistaken - no absinthe. But we did enjoy a margarita and martini while enjoying the lovely view of the city.

Next we walked down into the Gastown neighborhood, a place of old brick buildings and dark alleyways reminicent of Seattle's Pioneer Square. In this ecclectic neighborhood one can order a shot of absinth, buy a Cuban cigar, smoke a joint in a public cafe, or visit the Church of Scientology all within an area of a few blocks.

The second bar I went into also had no absinthe, but the nice bartender told me who did: 50 Bourbon on Cordova.

So we walked in. The place was not too crowded and the music was not too loud. Before talking to anyone I spotted the half-full bottle of Hills Absinth on a shelf behind the bar.

I asked the cocktail waitress what kinds of absinthe they had. She didn't know what it was, so she went to the bar to ask her friend. When she came back and told me they only had the one kind. I asked how they usually served it. She replied that they light it on fire.

Now I've never set absinthe aflame before, but if that's what the makers promote as their serving method, then who am I to question it? "Bring me a shot of Hills with a glass of water and a spoon!" I said.

I watched as the bartender pourded a glass of the light bluish liquor into a glass, then balanced a long handled spoon on it. At that point I assumed it would be brought to my table, I turned to my wife and spoke with her.

About two minutes later the waitress brought me a glass of ice-water, an empty glass, and a shot glass of the greenish blue liquid with the remnents of a sugar cube on the bottom of it. "Wait, don't I get to light the sugar on a spoon over the drink?"

I then learned that the bartender had already lit the sugar while my back was turned, and dumped the remains into the drink. I was disspointed that I missed the flaming spectical, and that they apparently didn't trust me to do my own burning.

I took a sip neat, and it had a string burn of alcohol with a layer of mint and sweetness from the sugar, which did not look or taste very carmalized to me. I poured it into the empty glass and added what I hoped would be the right amount of water. I expected somthing of a louche, but of course it did not. I think I added too much water - the taste that came to mind was - I am not kidding - ...

Scope Mouthwash.

Not that that's all bad. When Scope first hit the market, it was advertised as the mouthwash with the taste you don't have to hate. It's just not absinthe. There's nothing wrong with orange soda, but its not Coca-Cola, and calling it Cok or Coala or Kola isn't going to make it the same kind of drink as Coke. And it certainly isn't worth $60-75 US for a bottle.

The next day I found that the liquor store in Whister Village sells Hills for about $84 CAN and has yet another brand just called Absinth from something called Green Tree distillery. It was a little cheaper at $71 CAN, but that's still too much unless there was a positive review from someone on this forum.

I asked at Whistler and another liquor store I stopped at if they had any mini-bottles of absinthe. Regrettably they don't, although eabsinthe.com does sell 300ml and 5cl bottles to UK customers.

Too bad - I think it would be fun at the next absinthe party to set out a drink made with Hills and a drink made with Scope and see if people could tell which is which, but I'm not willing to pay $60 US to be able to do that.


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Hiram
post May 10 2004, 11:34 PM
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Some poor schmuck must have a bottle of Hill's that they don't want to fess up to. I hope someday one shows up at a party of mine. We'll do the Scope test.


Edit: When I posted this I was late out the door from work and totally neglected to congratulate you MrGreenGenes!! Here's to a long and happy life together!! abs-cheers.gif

And yes, it was a grate story!





1000


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Conju
post May 10 2004, 11:41 PM
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Cool story GG.

Hiram: congrats.


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QUOTE(Artemis @ Jun 25 2005, 01:33 AM) *
QUOTE
(I'm still waiting for my 'welcome')

Not so. You sent me a PM long ago and I didn't tell you to fuck off and die. What do you want, cheetos?
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Touch-money
post May 11 2004, 12:12 AM
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Well, two congrats are in order here: 1. To MrGreenGenes for tying the knot 2. To Hiram for 1000 abs-cheers.gif to both of you!


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G&C
post May 11 2004, 12:32 AM
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absintheglass-glow2.gif Indeed! absintheglass-glow2.gif


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Gertz
post May 11 2004, 12:39 AM
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A third congrat to MrGG for getting married.

abs-cheers.gif absintheglass-glow2.gif abs-cheers.gif


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musicgeek
post May 11 2004, 12:46 AM
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And another. abs-cheers.gif
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traineraz
post May 11 2004, 03:09 AM
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Congrats on the marriage, and my sympathies for the absinth.


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"Now that we've defined what marriage is, we need to take that further and say children deserve to be in that relationship." - Greg Quinlan of Ohio's Pro-Family Network, a conservative Christian group which apparently promotes pedophilia.

. . . and don't forget to read the FAQ and check out the Absinthe Buyer's Guide for brand reviews and distributor links!
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The Green Hour
post May 11 2004, 04:00 AM
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Congratulations on your Marriage!!! abs-cheers.gif


I'm just sorry that you had to spend so much time on your Honeymoon with an Absinthe Hunt. Especially, since they only had Hills.. but, thank you for the Story.. I've never been to Canada, but I could picture everything that you described. Very cool.



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Scent of Time,
Never will I be
as Before..."

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Absomphe
post May 11 2004, 04:14 AM
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Here's to long, happy, prosperous, and ever green marriage GG!!! abs-cheers.gif abs-cheers.gif

Way to go on that 1000, Bruddah...

Post for post, you are the creme de la Nostril Creme!

Ewww, I just realized how revolting that sounded! LARS!.gif


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I_B_Puffin
post May 11 2004, 05:16 AM
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QUOTE (MrGreenGenes @ May 10 2004, 03:17 PM)
Too bad - I think it would be fun at the next absinthe party to set out a drink made with Hills and a drink made with Scope and see if people could tell which is which,

Except for one little problem. Isn't the alcohol in mouthwash denatured alcohol. Hill's may be bad, but at least it won't make you go blind.
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Absomphe
post May 11 2004, 06:47 AM
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QUOTE (I_B_Puffin @ May 10 2004, 10:16 PM)
QUOTE (MrGreenGenes @ May 10 2004, 03:17 PM)
Too bad - I think it would be fun at the next absinthe party to set out a drink made with Hills and a drink made with Scope and see if people could tell which is which,

Except for one little problem. Isn't the alcohol in mouthwash denatured alcohol. Hill's may be bad, but at least it won't make you go blind.

Drink enough of it, and I wouldn't take any bets.


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hartsmar
post May 11 2004, 07:34 AM
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Congratulations on the wedding there!

Hiram: I can send you a sample...


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Scintilla
post May 11 2004, 07:56 AM
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Hey congrats on your nuptials. I trust you went up through Poulsbo to Port Angeles? Lucky dog, what a great honeymoon. I've really been missing the Island of late, and your story reminds me just how magical the whole region is. I do hope that you've taken in the view of Victoria from the Hurricane ridge trail. It is a stunning vista a good long hike from the center but well worth it. Hills on the other hand is not worth seeking out; even for experimental purposes. bleh

Note that Ive changed my screen name from "Mr. Green Jeans" to Scintilla to avoid confusion.


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Brett
post May 11 2004, 03:00 PM
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Congratulations on the marriage.

You could have saved yourself some trouble by going to www.hillsabsinth.com. They list places in Vancouver that serve it. But at least this way you got to wander around what was formerly one of the top cities in the world.

I can't imagine such outrageous prices for Hill's and Absente considering the list price is $81.85 and $63.95 respectively. $98 for Hill's? I hope that wasn't a government run liquor store.


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