Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Trouble with Absinthe + Au Café dit l'Absinthe: Jean Béraud, 1908

First up, from JSTOR Daily:

When temperance advocates won the ban on absinthe in 1915, many of them saw it as the first step in a broader anti-drinking campaign.
An advertisement for Pernot Liqueur
Public Domain Pictures
If you go out for a fancy cocktail this weekend, you might see absinthe on the menu, but there was a time when it was difficult to find. The drink was banned in France in 1915, when the wormwood used to make it was thought to cause hallucinations and madness. As the historian P.E. Prestwich explained back in 1979, the actual reasons for the ban were more complex.

Soldiers fighting in Algeria first brought absinthe to France. At that time, it was too expensive for most people. But in the 1880s, an infestation of phylloxera pests led to a shortage of wine. Absinthe manufacturers, who had previously used wine alcohol as the base of the drink, switched to cheaper alcohol made from beets or grain. Suddenly, absinthe was cheaper than wine, and many working-class people switched to it.

Absinthe was appealing not just for its low price but because of the ritual attached to it: slowly pouring cold water over a sugar cube into the glass, transforming the aperitif from a bright yellowish green to a cloudy white....

And as interesting as the story may be, it is actually just an excuse to reprise a couple paintings last seen in "The Book That Captured Mid-’70s Paris":
Gustave Caillebotte’s 1877 impressionist masterpiece “Paris Street; Rainy Day,”
The Caillebotte painting is Paris:

But I think I'll stick with Jean Béraud, the most Parisian of all the painters of Paris, despite his being born in Russia:
The Absinthe Drinkers, 1908
Private collection
Could I be any more bored?