May 19, 2011

Adventures in Comb-Overs and Absinthe Cocktails

The comb-over is a wonderful thing. It's mysterious and full of secrets, yet approachable. It's sure of itself and yet it's sensitive. While you might think it's stubbornly gelled down, the slightest wind could blow it over.

And so it came to pass that I crocheted an ode to the comb-over. It is a classic beanie in a pale cream shade (because as the test-monkey, well, I am only available in a pale cream shade) with dark brown around the sides and back. But why stop at bald? I sewed loose, single strands of brown across the top of the pate and secured them on the other side. No blow-aways here!

Upon finishing, it was time for a night out on the town with Kortney. Like many nights-out-on-the-town, our first stop was Falling Rock for dinner. The hard part about beginning with this wonderful beer bar is having to tear yourself away in order to try something new. Nevertheless, tear ourselves away we did, and for a very special reason: absinthe.

But first, a history lesson! Absinthe has been historically known for two things: its famous admirers (Oscar Wilde, Vincent Van Gogh, Aleister Crowley)...and its supposed penchant for making its admirers into violent and/or suicidal lunatics. Despite the inaccuracy of the latter claim, many countries banned the liquor by 1915, including the United States.

So if it was banned, why was I drinking it? Was this 2008 all over again? No, don't worry. In 2007, the Swiss and the French stepped in and saved the day (bet you never would have seen that coming). After some championing (and promising of first-borns, I'm sure) by K├╝bler and Lucid distillers, the ban was lifted but with stipulations: lowered levels of thujone (the rumored crazy-causing chemical agent found in wormwood, which is the crucial ingredient in absinthe), packaging could not allude to hallucinations (or fun) in any way, and brand names could not contain the word "absinthe". Hey, whatever makes it happen, right?

Since then, American companies have begun producing their own versions of it--including Colorado's own distillery, Leopold Bros. And it is here that I end the history lesson.

We made our way to Star Bar, eager to try the mythical liquor. The bartender mixed delicious yet strange cocktails using Avery White Rascal beer, Three Pines Alpine Herbal Liqueur, and Rocky Mountain Blackberry liqueur for me, Michigan Tart Cherry Liqueur for Kortney. He capped off the cocktails with exactly three drops each of absinthe. Yes, drops:

While we sucked down the light cocktails, the bartender prepared our second drink: absinthe and water. No sugar cube, no slotted spoon, no lit match, just absinthe poured into icy cold water.

I learned two things about absinthe:

1) The smell is as intoxicating as the actual drink. When tilting the glass to take a sip, your nose is hit with an overpoweringly exotic odor, making you feel head-drunk long before your body feels the effects of the alcohol.

2) It doesn't taste as bad as I have always heard. Maybe it is because the American version has been so dulled down so as to make it legal that it has lost all of it bitterness in the process. Or maybe my mouth is the oral equivalent to Superman. Either way, the Leopold Bros. absinthe is fairly pleasant.

Oh, and 3) you really should not drink a lot of beer before or after the stuff. Trust me on this. Wowza.

Less than hour and two drinks later, we headed toward Great Divide Brewery on surprisingly wobbly legs. Pow! Pow! Score one for the unassuming absinthe.

The brewery was where I really tested the Comb-Over Hat's legs. In the crowded bar area, several people stopped me to compliment my hat, shouting about how great it was. And when I mentioned the comb-over aspect of it, the uproar really began. People laughed and laughed, gasped for breath, pulled at me, asked if I would show their friend, asked where I got it...

But here is what I wonder: I received lots of compliments long before explaining about the comb-over part. What did these people think it was? Just a bald cap? Well, that's pretty clever in itself. One person commented, "Princess Leia! Star Wars!" In Carrie Fisher's later years, perhaps?

So you tell me, what would you think this hat was supposed to be if you didn't see the top of it?

Before long, it was time to leave. I had to drag Kortney, kicking and screaming, away from the bar:

Just kidding. I totally set that up to make her look like a lush. She was actually returning my empty glass to the bar, along with her own. Although the kicking and screaming comment wasn't all that far-fetched...

So, in conclusion, I determined the Comb-Over Hat to be a crowd success.

But that could just be the thujone hallucinations talking.

1 comment:

misskortney said...

Hurrah! It was such a nice night... and that hat is full of magic.