Why yes, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out that there is.
When you think of absinthe, you probably think of the green fairy. You know, that pesky little fantasy that supposedly pops up after a few too many glasses of this legendary hallucinogenic drink. Or perhaps you think of Toulouse-Lautrec, who crafted his iconic images while sipping on this vermillion colored beverage. However you know it (and no matter what you think of its taste), you probably agree that the unique characteristics and historical significance of this beverage should be celebrated.
And it is, in Val-de-Travers, Switzerland!
What is Absinthe?
Before I dive into why you should be going to this festival, I should first explain why absinthe is such a fascinating beverage.
Unlike more traditional liquors like rum, whiskey, and vodka, absinthe is a spirit with herbal infusions that give it an extraordinarily high alcohol content and a bright green color.
Due to its ability to get you sloshed after only a couple glasses, naturally, it became a popular drink in the Bohemian set in Paris. Needless to say, every conservative in that period used this as an excuse to vilify the drink saying that it made those who indulged hallucinate. (Yes, it is true that there are trace amounts of thujone, which is a known hallucinogen, but it does not exist in high enough quantities to adversely affect your body).
Not long into the 20th century, due to its association with drug use and the artistic set, absinthe was banned from many future-EU countries, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that the green fairy began to spread her wings again. Since its renaissance, absinthe has flown to the top of alternative spirits in terms of popularity. With nearly 200 unique brands being produced, it is no wonder that the birthplace of this spirit celebrates annually.
— Jura & Trois-Lacs (@Jura3Lacs) June 17, 2016
Every summer this lovely little village in the heart of Switzerland digs into its roots and offers thousands of aficionados a taste of true absinthe. Unlike here in the States where it is still more uncommon than not to purchase wormwood-free absinthe, this festival offers you the real deal.
Transport yourself through space and time and have a sip (or two) of absinthe. In the little village of Boveresse you can wander the main street lined with tents hawking their wares and maybe taste a few.
However, if you really want a unique experience, hike up into the forest and hunt for the absinthe fountains. Nestled into the hills you will find the occasional fountain where absinthe flows freely. Imagine filling your glass from a cool, anise-flavored mountain stream and sitting back under the cool canopy of trees to enjoy a summertime treat.
To me this sounds like the perfect way to enjoy a spirit so closely associated with creativity!
Can you think of a better way to enjoy the summertime than traipsing through the foothills of Switzerland and sampling some absinthe? This (or next) summer, instead of seeing the Matterhorn or going to Zurich, venture into the hills with a unique destination in mind. You never know what the green fairy will show you.