3 Places to Try Absinthe in Vancouver

Despite the fact that it was never actually illegal in Canada, absinthe still has an aura of naughtiness about it.

August 21, 2015

By Jenni Elliott

From the no-doubt velvet-clad room you drink it in, to the anticipation built during its slow-drip pouring process, this aniseed and fennel-tasting beverage should be reserved for hardcore liquor fans (read: not Appletini connoisseurs).

Here are our three local picks for where you to can dance with the devil. It’s worth noting that we’re being overly dramatic: it’s claimed that hallucinations from absinthe were actually caused by copper-sulphate poisoning incurred during the colouring process in olden times. Either that or the copious amount of opium people were enjoying it as an accompaniment.

Sheree Abbas from Okanagan Spirits (maker of Taboo Absinthe) says that, in actual fact, thujone—the chemical expelled in the distillation of wormwood, believed to be hallucinogenic–is more common that you would think: “Thujone is actually produced when you distill gin and tequila as well, by the chemicals released in juniper and the agave plant. You’d need to drink a good couple of bottles to feel anything too crazy.”


1. Prohibition at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia

If you’re looking for an all-out speakeasy experience, order the absinthe fountain ($35 per person), made with Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery’s Taboo absinthe, the first genuine absinthe to be made in Canada.


2. Absinthe Bistro on Commercial

Served by the glass ($10), the bistro offers three different types of absinthe: La Fee Parisienne (France), Taboo (Canada), and Green Tree (Czech Republic). If you’re looking to dip your toe in the pool, try one of the absinthe-based mojitos or martinis ($11).


3. Ask for the Sazerac

An absinthe rinse is required to make this extremely famous cocktail; it’s not always listed on the menu, so challenge your bartender next time you’re in one of these joints.

The Keefer: St. George absinthe, Alameda, California, $12.

L’Abattoir: Herbsaint absinthe, New Orleans, Louisiana, $15.

Diamond: Taboo absinthe, Kelowna, B.C., served with cognac, $14.

Hawksworth: Taboo absinthe, Kelowna, B.C., served with 6 year old rye whiskey, $14.

*It’s worth noting that Hawksworth was the very first bar outside New Orleans to be credited with the Seal of the Sazerac back in 2012.

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