Scott Navicky’s Guide to Books & Booze from The Next Best Book Blog

An Anythingarian Boozehound’s Guide to Absinthe & Afternoon Drinking

James Joyce pinched the portmanteau from Jonathan Swift. I pinched it from Joyce, stripped it of its religious vestments, and added alcohol. When it comes to booze, I’m a renowned anythingarian: I’ll drink anything as long as it isn’t sold in a hardware store. The one constant in my alcohistory is absinthe. The protagonists in both Humboldt: Or, The Power of Positive Thinking and 3Essays on Imagereality are absintheminded. My favorite absinthes are Émile Pernot Vieux Pontarlier and Lucid Absinthe Supérieure. Both are classified as historic absinthes. (While technically American, Lucid is produced in the famous Combier distillery in Saumur, which, in addition to being a working distillery, is also an absinthe museum.)

When drinking absinthe, it is essential to be mindful of not only what you’re drinking, but when you are drinking it. Drinking absinthe too late in the evening can be an invitation to riotous escapades. The traditional Parisian l’heure verte, or “the green hour,” was five o’clock. Observing l’heure verte transformed me from an evening drinker into an afternoon drinker, and this transformation opened up a plethora of new drink possibilities. For example, I adore Irish Coffee and steadfastly maintain that a well-timed Irish Coffee can save your life, but I’m often underwhelmed by its presentation. The temperature tends to be too tepid and it’s usually gone too soon. To avoid this disappointment, I create a Barry Barry Barry Bonds, Y’all. Don’t bother looking this drink up in Mr. Boston: The Official Bartender’s Guide because it’s not in there. I conjured it.

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