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Absinthe makes a return to Ohio stores

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Dispatch wrote Unfairly banned for decades as unsafe, potent liquor returns to Ohio stores

By Kevin Joy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

After several years of lobbying by distillers and a detailed study of the liquor’s chemical makeup, the U.S. Treasury Department last year dropped a 95-year prohibition on absinthe. In May, state regulators cleared it for sale in Ohio.

With its high alcohol content (Lucid is 124 proof, Grande is 138) absinthe is meant to be served diluted — typically one part liquor with three to five parts water. It is often served in a glass with a special slotted spoon suspended on the rim. A sugar cube is placed in the spoon, and ice-cold water is dripped over the sweetener until fully dissolved.

“It’s like drinking rotten tires that have been rolled around in worms,” said restaurateur Elizabeth Lessner, who said she’ll offer absinthe in the three Columbus eateries she co-owns. Still, Lessner is betting that customers will take to the drink and its showy presentation: She ordered a full set of absinthe glassware.

Clintonville resident Daniel Fox first tried absinthe four years ago in Toronto while vacationing with his wife. They found a bottle in a liquor store and served it impromptu at their hotel, using a metal fork, sugar cubes and a tumbler glass from the bathroom. Results were unspectacular. And, no dancing fairies.


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