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Survival Skills: How to Make an Emergency Absinthe Fountain

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Imagine the following scenario:

You are sea kayaking a remote coastal area and a storm blows in. You pull ashore on a deserted island to bivouac for the night.

Once your tent is set up in the shelter of the trees, you rummage through your boat to see if there is anything in your supplies that can provide you comfort and distraction from the harsh conditions. And then, boom, you find it! There, buried in the stern compartment, is the bottle of Mephisto Absinthe you thought you had left in the car!

If only you had an absinthe fountain…

By Henri Privat-Livemont - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs divisionunder the digital ID ppmsca.10090.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information., Public Domain,
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1896 Absinthe poster by Henri Privat-Livemont

In case you are not familiar with absinthe and the associated paraphernalia involved in the proper serving of it, we’ll give you the quick rundown:

First of all, absinthe does not cause hallucinations and hysteria. Back in the days of Toulouse Lautrec there was a great blight that destroyed most of the grape crops – which meant no wine.

Due to its invigorating taste and fun serving ritual, Absinthe immediately became the new rage for the wine-thirsty public.

Uptight prohibitionists got together with struggling wine producers and created an effective smear campaign on absinthe, convincing the government that the alcoholic beverage was a danger to society. Absinthe was banned.

According to some historians, because of absinthe’s popularity and the elaborate industrial process that was used to make it, cost-cutting measures used by some of the absinthe companies may have resulted in considerable amounts of cleaning chemicals ending up in the liqueur. Yikes!

Needless to say, “a visit from the green fairy” these days is not going to be much different than a mild tequila bender.

Part of the fun of absinthe is definitely in serving it. Because it is of a high alcohol content and made from an oily, bitter herbal concoction that includes a lot of anise and fennel, it is best slowly diluted with chilled water. This creates a foggy greenish emulsion (a visit from the green fairy!) and turns the strong-tasting liqueur into a refreshing (albeit still very alcoholic) drink. To cut the bitterness, the cold water is usually dripped over a sugar cube.

Starting to see where all the absinthe paraphernalia comes into play?

First of all you’re going to want an absinthe glass. It has a special “dosing chamber” at the bottom that holds exactly one ounce of absinthe. When the glass is then filled the rest of the way with ice water, it makes the perfect blend of three parts water to one part absinthe.

You are also going to need an absinthe spoon to hold the sugar cube over your glass when you drip the ice water on it.

Oh and then to drip the water, you are going to really want a super ornate absinthe fountain to “louche” the absinthe (which is how they say “foggy it up” in France).

But let’s get real here.

We’re adventure picnickers. We can’t always go traipsing into the wild with an absinthe fountain under our arm. Or can we?

Meanwhile Back On the Island…..

You did pack your absinthe spoon and some sugar cubes. And of course you have your trusty titanium camping cup. But the closest thing you’ve got to an absinthe fountain is a Platypus Water Reservoir

You’re going to have to MacGyver the shit out of this thing.

Step 1. Pour approximately one ounce of absinthe in your cup and put your spoon in place with the sugar cube.

Step 2: Remove the bite valve from your Platypus bladder hose.

Step 3: Elevate the Platypus bladder above the mug and open the main valve so that there is a slow drip on the sugar cube.

Okay so that wasn’t exactly MacGyvering the shit out of it. But you did find a happy distraction from an unpaddleable sea. Hello green fairy!

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