About the Slow Death

By Jerry

A long time ago, back when absinthe was illegal in the United States, my friend Gary and I found this in a very old cocktail recipe book:

Absinthe with Champagne

Actual Slow Death in the Afternoon Cocktail

Ernest Hemingway’s
“Slow Death in the Afternoon Cocktail”

Ingredients:

  • 1 jigger of absinthe
  • Champagne to taste

   
Instructions:

  • Pour 1 jigger absinthe into chilled champagne flute.
  • Add chilled champagne until it attains the proper milky opalescence.
  • Drink 3 to 5 slowly.

   
Gary and I, both aspiring writers at the time, went out in search of this “absinthe” stuff — not knowing it was illegal. We were in our twenties and this was in the early 1980’s.  After a wild goose chase all over town one learned liquor store employee finally broke the bad news to us.  “You can’t get that anymore.  It’s been illegal since sometime near the turn of the century.”

It wasn’t until my 40’s that I had my chance to actually try absinthe.  I was in Helsinki on a business trip and discovered they had it at the hotel bar.  Unfortunately they went through the whole burning sugar cube gambit, which I later found out was for amateurs and tourists.  Only a few years later I was able to get it in the States, and I finally — some 20-odd years after the initial fruitless quest — I was able to try my first Slow Death in the Afternoon Cocktail.

Since then I have become an absinthe enthusiast.  The combination of the dropping of my inhibitions, and the lucid, energized, alert state that the absinthe induces in me, fuels my creative spark like nothing else — even more so than coffee.

My friend Dan and I, who is much more an absinthe aficionado than I am, always talked about starting an absinthe-centric podcast, and now finally we have.  Being that we both make our livings as writers, we thought it particularly apt to name this podcast and website in Hemingway’s honor.

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