February 22, 2008

Absinthe Flying Off the Shelves - Little Green Fairies Blamed

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Is it really a surprise? For the majority of us who ordered from Europe just to taste a sample of Absinthe in the 90's, it's nice to see a new century and new trips with our favorite green fairy.

But the biggest booze news of the year may be a green liquor that has a wealth of legend and lore behind it. Absinthe, the powerful and supposedly hallucinogenic, wormwood-laced concoction that helped addle the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, is back in the United States after a 96-year absinthe absence, and a legal, 124-proof version called Lucid is available -- make that was available -- at Argonaut, Applejack and three dozen other Colorado liquor stores.

"We ran out in one weekend," says Applejack owner Alan Freis, who had ten cases. So did Argonaut, according to an enthusiastic salesman there.

Ben Olguin, vice president of spirits (the coolest title ever) for Southern Wine & Spirits of America in Denver, assures Off Limits that Lucid should be back on the shelves and in nightclubs and "neighborhood shot and beer places" sometime this week. "We ordered it with caution," he says of Southern's first shipment in early January. The absinthe retails for $60 to $80 a bottle, Olguin points out, and he wasn't sure how customers would react to the cost. But it "blew up," he notes, so "this time, we tripled the order." To help stir excitement, representatives of Viridian Spirits, the French company that makes Lucid, were in Denver last week, pumping their product to liquor-store owners and bartenders.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at February 22, 2008 10:00 AM
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