Nearly a century of absinth-tinence

Last year my girlfriend and I invited her aunt and uncle to one of Paul’s famous absinthe parties in San Francisco. They were worried about the legality and risk of a party like this, to which we responded “The parties are fine, we’ve been going for a few years now with no problems.” So the four of us dressed to the nines and headed over to the SOMA district. Picking out the first drink of the evening was fun for all of us as our bartender, Cat, walked us through the selection and gave us her opinions. Finally we placed our order and I through the cash down, at which point a police officer, wearing a bulletproof vest and helmut, asked what exactly we were doing. The party was raided and we gave Shannon’s aunt and uncle one hell of a an experience.

That all happened one year ago.

The only charge they laid on Paul was “selling of poisonous substances”, a charge which Paul and a chemist his lawyer found were sure would be easy to beat. Luckily they didn’t have to, the district attorney didn’t show up on the court date, thus all charges were dropped without setting any legal precedence and all of Paul’s liquor was returned to him (see the photo above).

A few months ago, absinthe was re-legalized in the US thus creating a new wave of absinthe-terest. Kubler (the company responsible for absinthe’s re-legalization in both Switzerland and the US) is available in BevMo, Colbert talked the drink down on his show, and the first legal absinthe is distilled right here in the Bay Area.

When Paul’s legal troubles disappeared, many of us wondered if something big like this was going to happen. Perhaps the DA had gotten wind of the legal changes underway and decided it wouldn’t be worth a battle with Paul. Maybe if he had, and Paul was found not guilty on the charge, that would have been the move responsible for the drinks new legal status, at least in the Bay.

Now, one year after the raid and 95 years after the prohibition of absinthe, Paul is preparing for his first legal absinthe party at Whisper in San Francisco. You can read the full details and sign up for the mailing list on AbsintheParty.com. Legendary electro-lounge pioneer Tipsy will do a dj set, I’ll be doing some walk around yo-yoing, and (according to the site) they’ll be serving St. George. I’m trying to confirm that last bit from Paul considering how quickly everyone sold out of the original batch of St. George and the crazy lengths people are going through to attain a bottle. The distillery is sold out and the next batch isn’t due out until February. It sounds like the St. George opening event in Alameda was well worth the crazy line.