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Marc Chevalier

Since I live in Latin America, I am especially interested in the history of absinthe “south of the border”. We all know that Hemingway drank absinthe in Cuba, and those old photos of Pernod crates labeled “Buenos Aires” and “Punta Arenas” prove that South America received its share of the drink. But did you know that absinthe was also produced in Latin America?

In the coming weeks, I will share some of my findings on the subject. These include a treatise on Chile’s cholera epidemic of 1886-1888, where absinthe is recommended as a treatment; an old Peruvian absinthe cocktail; and a 19th-century packing crate label advertising “absinthe Suisse” made in Argentina.


Part 1: A CHILEAN POET AND THE GREEN FAIRY

Hemingway was Cuba’s most famous absinthe drinker. But few people know that the late Pablo Neruda, Chile’s most famous poet (and a Nobel Prize winner), was also an absinthe enthusiast. Hemingway and Neruda followed similar paths. In the 1920s, the poet spent some years in France, and in the late ‘30s lived in Spain, where he supported the Republican cause against Franco’s Fascists. One can assume that Neruda, like Hemingway, acquired his taste for absinthe in one or both of these countries.

(While visiting Neruda’s house -- now a museum -- in Valparaiso, I was struck by his collection of goblets and glasses. Lo and behold, the display case held a half dozen antique cordon glasses. I wonder if Neruda knew that they were for absinthe?)

The following was taken from the transcript of a speech made in Cuba by Ángel Augier, a poet and friend of Pablo Neruda. I’ve translated it into English, but you can find the Spanish version here:

http://www.lajiribilla.cu/2004/n160_05/160_03.html

On March 13, 1942, Neruda, then Chile’s General Consul to Mexico, paid his first visit to Havana. Soon after arriving, the poet, accompanied by his wife and some Cuban friends, took a stroll down the Paseo del Prado and invited the group for drinks in a bar on the way. All but one ordered absinthe; Ángel Augier, a light drinker, opted for a beer. Neruda, in a mock-stentorian voice, declared:

“Ángel – now and again, it's absinthe that gets the job done!”

After everyone’s laughter had subsided, he continued:

“Back in Mexico, when I had to finish writing my 'Song for Bolívar' only hours before having to read it aloud on stage, I just couldn’t seem to end the thing. So I went for a glass of absinthe and finished the poem in a really great mood …”

More laughter. Augier replied:

“Now I know what to take the next time I find myself in a similar predicament.”




Absomphe
That was great, Marc!

I look forward to more!!!! w00t2.gif
Grim
Very nice. Thank you, Marc.
le Gimp
Bravo Marc. Thank you, and please continue. abs-cheers.gif
Perruche_verte
Huzzay! abs-cheers.gif
deam
There's nothing I love more than stories about people who are into absinthe... except maybe absinthe itself...
I can't wait for the next one!
abs-cheers.gif
pierreverte
thanks for your efforts! will look forward to seeing more of your discoveries...
Artemis
QUOTE
Chile’s cholera epidemic of 1886-1888


Love in the Time of Cholera? Connection there?

QUOTE
In the 1920s, the poet spent some years in France, and in the late ‘30s lived in Spain


Il Postino? One of my favorite movies. Neruda drank vino in that, but then it was Italy. True story, or not?

QUOTE
There's nothing I love more than stories about people who are into absinthe...


Every post on this forum is a story about a person who is into absinthe, or absinthe that is into people.

deam
QUOTE (Artemis @ Aug 11 2004, 03:08 PM)
Every post on this forum is a story about a person who is into absinthe, or absinthe that is into people.

That's why I keep on coming back!
abs-cheers.gif
Artemis
Not that Pablo Neruda is any Ian Anderson ...
Jack Batemaster
QUOTE (Artemis @ Aug 11 2004, 01:08 PM)
Every post on this forum is a story about a person who is into absinthe, or absinthe that is into people.

At the Lounge it's all about the Absinthe coming out of people...
Artemis
Zen and the art of chunder?
Artemis
Not to wander too far off topic (I mean the picture of the guy frying the giant water rat DID come from Chile), but here is an excerpt from the National Lampoon, "Food & Festivity Issue", December, 1978. Change Australians to Czechs, and food to absinthe, and it's even more on topic. The part about England is a free gift, cause I couldn't be bothered to cut it out:

Absomphe
"I come from a land down under,

Where beer does flow, and men chunder..."



Aussies. wacko.gif
Jack Batemaster
QUOTE (Artemis @ Aug 11 2004, 02:45 PM)
Zen and the art of chunder?

Or pissing and shitting.
Jack Batemaster
...or moaning.
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