When it comes to spirits, there is nothing more sinister than absinthe. The iconic greenish drink was controversial in the past for its inclusion of herbal components that were once considered to be very harmful.
At one point, ingredients such as wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel were thought to cause intense hallucinations, psychosis and even seizures. This gave the drink a tarnished reputation that led to its ban in the early 1900s in several countries, including Switzerland and France.
Scientists figured out that the symptoms were being caused by toxic chemicals in the wormwood, rather than by the drink itself. Today, absinthe has seen a revival, with the concentration of wormwood reduced to a concentration that is no longer high enough to induce visions. However, there is still one factor about the drink to be concerned about - an alcohol content of 45 to 75 per cent by volume.
In Toronto, one bar disregards all of the stigma surrounding absinthe and has decided to dedicate itself entirely to the drink instead. L'Absinthe Bar is a French-inspired pub located above the Coq of the Walk restaurant in Little Italy. The bar opens its doors after the restaurant has closed, and it serves the best homemade and imported absinthes in the city.
Inside, the bar has a homey feel, with vintage furnishings and wallpaper. One of the coolest pieces of decor in the space is a huge replica of the law that banned absinthe in France back in 1907.
Each drink is meticulously prepared using an ice drop process. While the drinks are on the pricer side, it's important to note that one glass of absinthe is equivalent to three glasses of wine. So feel free to indulge in even the finest of absinthes offered at the bar, such as the prized La Clandestine ($22).
Of course, the bar adds wormwood to all of its absinthe creations, and they use just enough to give your drink a little "strength". Though the amount of wormwood used shouldn't be enough to cause hallucinations, many people still believe the drinks served at L'Absinthe Bar definitely hits differently than other alcoholic beverages.
Check out their full menu by visiting their website: CoqOfTheWalk.com