IMPORTANT UPDATE November 15, 2009: Since no-one has come forth to claim a bigger range, I can now confirm that the Green Fairy Bar in Colorado has the biggest range of absinthes of any bar in the USA! If you know of a bar with more, please post details here by adding a comment at the bottom.
Many people don't get Twitter. I'm not sure that I understand it although I know how I use it. To find out what people are saying about absinthe and, once in a while, to answer questions. I don't, however, know HOW everyone else uses Twitter. Do they just tweet to their friends (and read their friends' tweets)? Do they search for information or for like-minded people? If any of my readers know of any study showing HOW people use Twitter, I'd love to know ...
I can now at least claim to have found and helped a new customer via Twitter. The Green Fairy Bar, Copper Mountain, Colorado.
I read a Tweet from the bar, read their website and suggested one or two refinements to their otherwise excellent Fact or Fiction page.
I then got into an extended series of tweets with the Bar, leading eventually to direct email correspondence. It was at that stage I discovered one of the amazing ambitions of Eric Turner for his bar: to stock more absinthe than any other bar in the USA (excluding of course the private bar at Brian Robinson's house!).
I got talking to Eric about his business and about absinthe. I asked about his interest in Switzerland:
My business partner and I have two Swiss restaurants in this area. Both of us have lived there for periods. I was in Pontrisina, and he lived in Villars.
We wanted to open a nightclub, and we do well with European themes. We both love absinthe (his mother would soak cake in it when he was a kid in Belgium), and we thought that it was a good combination to do a European nightclub/ absinthe bar. It kept us doing business that we love, and absinthe had just the right element of danger to fit in with the younger nightclub crowd.
You certainly have a huge list of absinthes. And "absinths." Could that be too much focus on quantity, at the possible expense of quality?
No, not at all. We will be carrying some of these "absinths" for comparison only. I can’t wait for the fools to come in and order Koruna because it is Czech. I’ll sell it to them, but I will give them a taste of La Clandestine or N.O. on me, on the side. Hopefully they will ‘get it’, and become regular customers as a result. Our business plan involves education as much as anything else. We feel that once people taste the better quality absinthes, they will pay more for them in the bar. Until they do, they will think they know what they are doing. Kind of like getting someone to appreciate Appenzeller by tasting it next to Velveeta.
But of course my ambition is not just to stock more absinthe, but also to educate and expose Americans to the pleasures of absinthe.
So how have you got all these absinthes? And when do you start?
We are getting in the bulk of the brands now. The difficult part is distributors. Most of the products I will have do not have distribution in Colorado. I have been forced to pay retail and order online in some cases until they can get it together. We are doing our grand opening on December 18th, but will have a number of private functions prior to that.
And now that list of brands ...
La Muse Verte
Le Tourment Vert
And Eric promises more to come!
On the subject of Green Fairies, Eric's bar in Colorado is up against some formidable competition, especially in Europe. There are Green Fairy bars (in the local language) in Paris, in Milan, and, no doubt, elsewhere . There is a newly-opened Green Fairy Club in Aurora, Illinois, and there are Assenzio (the Italian for absinthe) outlets in New York, Italy and Prague. Depressingly the New York restaurant states "Try the namesake drink, assenzio (Italian for "absinthe"). The legal brand Absente is served in traditional fashion, with flaming sugar cubes," and I have resolved not to check out the Prague outlet.
One of my favourites in Europe is the Gruene Fee in Solothurn, Switzerland.
They offer an amazing virtual tour of the bar, allowing you to check the drinks list,
order your favourite Swiss absinthe and chat up the locals! OK, I exaggerated a bit there, but I heartily recommend the tour. Just beware of the green fairy ...
The newest absinthe bar in Europe seems to be the Green Fairy in Namur, Belgium.
This apparently offers over 80 different absinthes: more discussion of this bar and more photos can be seen on this French absinthe forum. Of course, this is a mere beginner compared with the Floris bar in Brussels
with apparently more than 300 different absinthes (and/or "absinths"). With two absinthe bars like The Green Fairy and Floris, Belgium is evidently an exciting place, and I'll report more from Belgium at a later date.
In the meantime, a question for my US readers. Do you know of any bar in the USA with a larger selection of absinthes than at the Green Fairy Bar in Colorado? Or can this bar legitimately claim a place in the record books?