What follows is a review of a liquor and the experiences the writer had while consuming an unreasonable quantity of it.
Shot 1: There's nothing to dislike about the process. There is the spoon and the sugar cube and then the first whiff of the stuff, a tentacle of anise reaching into the gullet and suctioning itself to the stomach wall. The smell changes when the liquor ignites. The blue flame adds smoke, sure, but also a taste of Earth; there's something almost volcanic about the whole thing. And then comes the liquid itself, like rough sex for the tongue.
Absinthe tastes like absinthe and it's impossible to not feel like a romantic - Van Gogh, Rimbaud, any one of the other dandies who captained ships in green-tinted bottles - when pouring.
Shot 2:Pernod Absinthe doesn't contain thujone, the chemical component that triggers hallucinations, but - at 136 proof - it does feature a hell of a lot of alcohol. Fortunately, the taste leaves more of an impression than the bound acyclics. This isn't the mouthwash they pawn off on study abroad kids in London; this is Absinthe, a cultured Parisian varietal, but the authentic artifact nonetheless.
Shot 3: She wants to talk about that one time in Prague. It's unbearably pretentious, but that's how this goes. Then she says she doesn't like licorice, which seems like a non-sequitur given the way the stuff tap dances on the palate. This isn't a distillation of Good N' Plenty.
Shot 4: Fingerwaggers claim that the Green Fairy will make you crazy. She won't. She's walks arm-in-arm with the Sandman, bring a sort of sleepy seriousness to conversation along with the impulse to say something real. When you haven't got anything particularly profound to say, this can lead to pontificating, stentorian debating, or emotional bomb throwing. There are multiple explosions as the second glass fills.
Shot 5: She's making very earnest eye contact, visibly searching for a truth she won't find. That glint is just a craving for gingerbread. 'Tis the season and all that.
Shot 6: A friend arrives before things devolve. He tosses back the glass and changes the subject. The whole point of inviting over guests is to change the subject: If it weren't for guests couples would have to take conversations to their logical conclusion, which is the place relationships end. He loves absinthe almost as much as he loves matches. He lights the whole pack and throws the ball of flame across the room into the sink.
Shot 7: The discussion gets heated again, but this time it's about the the College Football Playoff clusterfuck. Everyone has opinions. Everyone wants 'Bama to lose.
Shot 8: The headache is considerable. Absinthe, especially a better bottle like Pernod, is not supposed to be consumed in bulk. The taste of gingerbread has also gone sour. The only thing within reach is last night's glass - half empty, but full enough. Back to sleep.