Anise/Anis, Absynthe, and Wormwood
Last week my father and his wife (my step-mother, joyce) went out of town for a wedding. The timing was perfect, they needed someone to watch the dog and we wanted to use their swimming pool and backyard for Dean's 3rd birthday party. On one of the nights before the party I was spending the night there and watching their black lab, Max. Max and I had settled down for a DVD and I thought that if I was going to watch, "Blazing Saddles" I better have a beverage in front of me. The basement has a closet that has been modified into a liquor cabinet, a well stocked liquor cabinet. With the doors open wide the choices seemed endless. Without much thought I went with my initial inclination that a red wine would suit my mood best. So I grabbed a bottle or red, accessed the label, checked the year, and thought " is red...this will do." Went upstairs to grab and opener. Immediately things did not seem right. The cork was dry and crumbly, the bottle had been left in the upright position; the cork was damaged and the wine was ruined. I took a sip and poured the vinigar scented sediment filled bottle down the drain. Had I been camping this bottle would have suited fine, but I was in my parent's house in Bethesda, no need to rough it. Then back to the basement to grab another bottle of wine. As I opened the doors to the liquor cabinet my attention was drawn away from the wine to a few bottles at eye level...there right before my eyes was a bottle of Absynthe and a bottle of Anis. I grabbed the Anis and headed back upstairs for the right glass and a few cubes of ice.
I followed the mixture instructions loosely and poured a 1 to 5 mixture of Anis to Water with a few cubes of ice. The cloudy concoction was had a bold licorice flavor....smooth! It numbed my teeth. I had a few glasses and laughed my way through a Mel Brooks comedy that still has me questioning what makes that film a classic. I could appreciate that they really backed this movie with a budget and played it straight like it was a real western, but I did find the plot to be a tad thin. I killed the power and drifted off to sleep with a sense of satisfaction that I had finally seen the film classic Blazing Saddles in its entirety. No longer did I feel left out from all of those playground conversations in grade school where the children replayed their favorite scenes.
That night I had a very odd night of dreams. I may have drifted off to sleep before the effects of the alcohol wore off. What I drempt I can not recall, but I do recall that it was very disorienting to wake up in the dark basement of my parent's house. I glanced at my watch and discovered that I had failed in setting the alarm correctly. It was 8:30, an hour later than I had planned. Life is different without the sunlight and a 3 years old son to wake you up before 7 each morning. Rather than leaping out of bed in the classic Dagwood Bumstead panic I went ahead and accepted that I was going to be a tad late and got up and walked the dog.
It was interesting.....for as drunk as I got I was not in the least bit hung over.
This was the miracle drink. It was going to travel home with me.
Here it is a week later and I have nearly finished this bottle.
Today when Chinese carry out from Mei Wah was not ready I thought I would kill some time in the liquor store along side of the chinese restaurant. They did not have the Richard's Anis product I was looking for, they did have an Absynthe product I have tried before, but it is not Absynthe, just an Absynthe product, it does do the job, this package even came with a nifty Absynthe Spoon. I talked with the well informed sales people in the store and they assured me that such a product is illegal in the states and would not be found locally....
The long and the short of it....
good thing my dad has never been much of a drinker and will not miss this bottle
I better have him get me another bottle next time he is in France
cause I need to have some for backup the next time I want to have a special toast for a special occasion
an occasion more special then Blazing Saddles film in Technicolor

amendment: I have only been to that one liquor store in search of this product, but I am confident that there should be an assortment of Anis products and quasi-Absynthe products available in the states....but the real drinks derived from Wormwood.....that is what I seek and have yet to find.