Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thar She Drips!

Being around cocktail mavens can infect you with a kind of mania for the paraphernalia of drink history. "What? You have one of the actual copper mugs used to market Moscow Mules in 1950s? Lemme see!"

And so I beat a path to the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street because I heard that they have an original Absinthe drip, the kind that were used in the bad old days of the 19th century. As cocktail scholars know, no city in America was quite so thirsty for the green-hued monster Absinthe as was old New Orleans. And this particular bar was Destination One for the drink.

I walked into the front bar, a square-shaped deal. Salt-of-the-earth hoisters peopled the area, drinking Bud. This wasn't the place. I saw a doorway at the far right corner. I went through it, took a left through another door and found myself in a back room where people were dining. I was too intent on my mission to worry whether I was spoiling their meal.

Then I saw it. A bar, at the rear, adorned with two old green-marble pylons fixed with faucets on either side. A small plaque on the side of one said "Do Not Touch. Absinthe Drip. Since 1754." This was it! I didn't touch. I looked very closely, though. No waiter stopped me. They're used to such crazy behavior, I thought.

Have to admit. It was kinda thrilling.

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