By a stroke of luck (thanks Lisa!), I was able to get two tickets for the sold out absinthe tasting of the Victoria Steampunk Expo on Friday, April 20th. And my friend Julian Gunn (a published poet, by the way, so look him up!) was more than happy to accompany me.
The tasting was at the famous Union Club in Victoria, a members-only club that also used to be gentlemen only. It is everything you imagine a private club to be: lush rooms with wingback chairs, a full library, card and pool tables, music rooms with a dance floor, and many more absolutely luxurious things for retired millionaires. Heck, a picture of Winston Churchill welcomed us down the stairs to our tasting room.
If you don’t know what absinthe is, let’s make a quick summary: absinthe is a distilled alcoholic drink (usually between 60 and 80%) containing botanical extracts such as anise and, most famously, wormwood (read the full Wikipedia article).
So, basically, it tastes a lot like licorice. With alcohol. We tasted 3 absinthes: the Canadian Taboo (from the Okanagan), the American (I think) Hills, and the French La Fée.
Absinthe is only rarely drank pure; at 60%+ alcohol, you need a strong stomach. It is usually mixed with ice-cold water and sugar, to open up the flavours and compensate for the characteristic bitterness of the drink. It’s done by using a fountain of water dripping a tiny stream on a sugar cube, that’s on a spoon installed on top of your glass. The water transforms the clear green color into a milky, opalescent greenish drink.
Chris Adams of the Victoria Ghostly Walks delighted us with stories of the ghosts of Victoria, and other tidbits related to absinthe and the history of the town. Not being from BC, I actually learned quite a lot!
And now, for what you probably want to see: some of the nice costumes I was able to snap during the evening.
Hopefully I can get more great costumes at today’s expo!
Have you ever had absinthe? Do you like it?