Sections

ABSINTHE-MINDED

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

LeNell’s, a year-old wine and spirit boutique in Red Hook, educated customers about the charms of Versinthe - a legal version of absinthe, the hallucinogenic aperitif popular in late 19th century Paris - with a tasting on Aug. 7.

Glorious tributes to the Green Fairy-inducing liqueur have been projected on the silver screen in two popular 2001 films: Baz Luhrman’s "Moulin Rouge" and the Hughes Brothers’ "From Hell." A new book by Jad Adams, "Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle" (University of Wisconsin, $24.95), was released just this year.

The attraction to contemporary absinthe aficionados seems to have as much to do with the taste of the anise-flavored drink as it does with the ritual of making it palatable.

As demonstrated at LeNell’s, making a glass of Baron Francois Ltd.’s Versinthe is an elegant production. A fountain with silver spigots is filled with ice water. The spigot is twisted to release chilled water over sugar cubes poised on a slotted spoon. The sugar water runs through the spoon and into a glass of Versinthe. (The drink is made with six parts water to one part Versinthe.) The sugar water cuts the golden liqueur, turning it opaque.

The Versinthe is not absinthe-green because the company does not use artificial colors, explained LeNell’s proprietor Tonya LeNell Smothers. Nor does it have the agent blamed for absinthe’s Green Fairy-inducing daydreams, wormwood.

"The high alcohol content - 60 percent and higher - of the old absinthes was more to blame than wormwood," Smothers believes. "And overindulg­ing!"

At LeNell’s, the fountain is sold for $40; a 750 milliliter bottle of Versinthe is $33; and a 750 milliliter bottle of Versinthe with two glasses and two spoons is $40. But this isn’t your grandfather’s intimidating, warehouse-like liquor store. Buy anything from the boutique, replete with chandelier and a bathtub full of - what else? - gin, and it will be packaged in one of the shop’s leopard print bags.

LeNell’s is located at 416 Van Brunt St. between Coffey and Van Dyke. For more information, call (718) 360-0838 or visit www.lenells.com.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: