More than a century ago it was the elixir favoured by French bohemians and creative types all round, with Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe all fans. Now, it's the beverage of choice at Fitzroy's newest drinking den, Absinthesalon Melbourne.
On Rose Street, anyone keen on chasing the green fairy will find 36 different types of French, Swiss and Australian-made tipples for their imbibing pleasure, plus just the right kind of place to enjoy them in. That means Parisian-style, 70-seat digs that might look like an old warehouse on the outside, but aim to transport patrons somewhere special inside — and not just due to their booze range, which is apparently the country's largest absinthe collection.
When you're knocking back a few glasses of the highly alcoholic, anise-flavoured, botanical-derived concoction — a substance that has actually previously been banned in Switzerland, Belgium, Brazil, The Netherlands, America and even France since first being distilled in its modern form in the 18th century, in fact — you'll want the right mood, after all. You'll want to feel like you're stepping back in time, and that you're taking part in more than just having a few drinks. Thanks to the art- and history-inspired decor, the first part will be taken care of. As for the second, that comes in the form of performers on hand to guide you through the absinthe-sipping process.
If it all sounds familiar, that's because there's an Absinthesalon in Sydney too. The original site has been up and running for seven years, but now it's time for the fun to spread down south.