The Wearing of the Green Fairy
St Patrick’s Day
It’s St Patrick’s Day and as usual at Balans Soho Society there is but one question on our minds – ‘what should we have to drink to mark the occasion?’ Given that it’s customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories we went straight to our alphabetically arranged cocktail cabinet to find ‘A’ for absinthe…or as it’s better known ‘la fée verte’ – The Green Fairy – the legendary aromatic drink that came to symbolise the ultimate in decadence after its invention in the late 18th Century.
It rapidly became associated with bohemian culture and especially writers and artists working in Paris in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th Century. During the Belle Époque, absinthe became so popular that 5pm, ’Happy Hour’ became known as ‘The Green Hour’ when cafes and bars were filled with drinkers imbibing glasses of the viridescent liquid and engaging in all manner of licentious debauchery.
Thanks to some rather clever marketing that traded on its illicit character, absinthe enjoyed a reputation for being a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen – so much so that, by 1915 it had been widely banned across Europe and the USA. Although it does contain trace elements of the chemical compound, thujone which was originally blamed for its alleged harmful psychedelic effects, we’re slightly sad to say that it’s no more dangerous that any other spirit. It appears the most powerful drug in absinthe is, and always has been, a high volume of well disguised, beguilingly perfumed alcohol.
Try a dash of opulence this St Patrick’s Day with our Absinthe Fountain Ritual – the traditional bohemian experience using the finest La Fée Parisienne absinthe and an authentic water fountain.