Book Review: Absinthe: The Equisite Elixir

Absinthe: The Equisite Elixir
Betina J. Wittels & T.A. Breaux

Confirmed absinthe drinkers, neophytes, the curious, and collectors will all find this book equally intriguing and seductive. 

Take an intimate look into the contemporary world of absinthe. International in scope, Absinthe: The Exquisite Elixir is a visually rich journey into an alluring subculture. Filled with color reproductions of classic and current lithographs, posters, cartoons, as well as photos of antiques, glassware, and other tools of the absinthe drinker, this new and comprehensive guide explains and illustrates the history, culture, and mystique of the drink known as the Green Fairy. The authors provide insights into the controversy and effects of the Green Fairy through the stories of famous connoisseurs, including Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso. In addition to a rich history, this detailed new guide includes recipes, reviews of existing Absinthe brands, and absinthe’s contemporary culture and ritual. Confirmed absinthe drinkers, neophytes, the curious, and collectors will all find this book equally intriguing and seductive. 

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What an incredibly fascinating book! This is one of the most well-researched and well-written books I have read in awhile. I absolutely loved it!

I have always been fascinated by Absinthe. The mystery behind the Green Fairy has intrigued me, especially its influence on writers like Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde. I was also surprised to read that so many other writers and artists like Pablo Picasso were also seduced by the green elixir. 

My only knowledge of absinthe before reading this book was that you drink it with a flaming sugar cube and it makes people go crazy. I’m so glad to learn that these myths are untrue. Many of the lovers of absinthe were also lovers of other alcohol and drugs, which combined made many act crazy. And as for the flaming sugar cube, as seen is many movies, like From Hell where Johnny Depp burns a sugar cube over a green drink, it is simply not true. The proper way is to pour water over the sugar cube not light it on fire. 

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was the authors’ writing style. Their writing is almost poetic, drawing you into the dark world of absinthe and its lovers. From the early 1800’s in Paris, France to the roaring 1920’s of New Orleans, Louisiana, this book takes you through absinthe’s short, but exciting and mysterious life. 

The cover and photos are also breathtaking. I love the mysterious and almost spooky looking green, black, and gold cover. Those colors continue throughout the book, along with color photos of the people, places, and paintings associated with absinthe. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book to lovers of food and drink and anyone who wants to learn more about the “Exquisite Elixir.” 

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest review!

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