Absinthe is green in colour, smells of liquorice (and has a slightly liquorice-y taste) and has an extremely high alcohol content. The ingredient that made it narcotic was wormwood, which contains the neurotoxin thujone. Modern absinthes do not contain thujone. Other ingredients include the herbs juniper, hyssop, anjelica, anise and fennel, to name but a few.
Drinking absinthe requires more effort than simply unscrewing the bottle cap. A small amount is poured into a glass, then a special perforated absinthe spoon is set over the mouth of the glass. A sugar cube is placed in the 'bowl' of the spoon and water drizzled over it. The water dissolves the sugar into the glass, diluting and sweetening the bitter drink at the same time. Absinthe must be diluted as it can be anything from 75% alcohol upwards.
Absinthe was blamed for acts of violent or criminal behaviour, as well as many deaths. In fact its psychoactive properties have been greatly exaggerated, as it only ever contained thujone in very small quantities and is no more dangerous than any other spirits. However, it was banned in many countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and the United States. It has never been illegal in the UK but only began to be imported from the Czech Republic in the 1990s.
Today the main difficulty with obtaining absinthe is its price - in the UK, a bottle of Hapsburg Absinthe can be ordered from the internet for a mere £37. However since the drink must be greatly diluted, a single bottle would probably last quite a while. I am also informed that you can buy a lesser-quality bottle of absinthe for £16 in Asda, which I shall investigate immediately.
Random note: there is an absinthe bar called Sixtina at the Wave Gotik Treffen, and apparently 'absinthe breakfasts' are very popular amongst the visiting Goths.
The ultimate eldergoth tipple
Snakebite and black, also referred to as jungle juice or diesel, is a mix of lager, cider and blackcurrant squash. Some pubs will not serve snakebite and black as the combination of alcohol and sugar is apparently too much for some people to handle. Snakebite and black is a highly popular drink amongst Goths and even lends its name to a Goth night in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England.
Chartreuse is a lesser-known Goth drink, whose popularity in the scene came about due to a mention in a Poppy Z. Brite novel, Lost Souls, where it is the favoured drink of the vampire protagonists. It is a French herbal liqueur which has been made by the Carthusian Monks since the 1740s. There are two types of chartreuse - green and yellow. Yellow has a milder, sweeter flavour than the 'assertive' flavour of the green.
Common Goth drinks
Despite everything one reads about the wonders of absinthe and snakebite, the most popular Goth drinks are (apparently) beer and wine. Red wine is usually favoured, although personally I am very partial to white (ssh!). Cider (flavoured or otherwise) is also very popular amongst the Goth community.
- Raven Beer
- Dead Guy Ale
- Fin Du Monde (End of the World)
- Ephemere (Ephemeral)
- Maudit (Dammit! - what a seriously great name)
- Rigor Mortis
- La Mort Subite (Sudden Death)
- La Biere du Demon (The Devil's Beer)
- Trompe La Mort (Cheat Death)
Thanks to the commentor who pulled me up for forgetting mead. Mead, aka honey wine, is a beverage created by fermenting a mix of honey and water. It may also be flavoured with spices, fruit or hops (which gives it a beer-like flavour). Mead is often the drink of choice at Ren Faires and medieval- or Viking-themed events, all of which are popular amongst a certain Goth crowd. Loupie said, "I don't know many Goths who would turn it down, a Gothy couple I know even used it instead of wine to toast their wedding."
"I don't drink alcohol, will I find it difficult to fit in with other Goths at the club?"
In her Goth Bible, Nancy Kilpatrick states, "A common wail from club owners is, 'Goths don't drink!' This is a subculture not afraid to order a Shirley Temple, or cranberry juice and Perrier."
So, in a word, no. In a subculture where nobody gives a crap about what anyone else thinks of them, there is not exactly going to be anything along the lines of peer pressure, and therefore no pressure to indulge in alcohol should you be teetotal. In short, the other Goths don't really care what you're drinking.
My coffee is black, like my soul...
Remember the Goth kids from South Park? "You can't be Goth if you don't drink coffee," or words to that effect, anyway. I wouldn't say that's true, but drinking coffee whilst reading Faust and looking moody is a highly cliche (read: 'popular') Gothy pasttime. Extra points for threadbare fingerless gloves and a clove cigarette.
As Emilie Autumn says, "I self-medicate with tea"
Tea, by far the most civilised of Gothy drinks, has always been exceptionally popular amongst those who are into Victoriana, neo-Victoriana, Lolita, and who generally like to appear elegant whilst sipping the wonderful brew from a china teacup. How can you host a tea party without tea?
Emilie Autumn, possibly the Queen of Goth Tea Parties, has recently begun selling her very own Asylum Tea, which for now is available on the merch stand at her concerts but will hopefully be available from her website soon.
I never drink... vine
For those who like their beverages with a side of vampire, True Blood currently has the market cornered with their TruBlood drink, mimicking the synthetic blood that well-behaved vampires drink in the Southern Vampire series of novels and the almost-pornographic True Blood TV series. Apparently it is very sweet and tastes of orange, according to a) my friend Rowenna and b) a review I read online. Angela of Lariats and Lavender says that it tastes good with vodka. I will be ordering a crateload for my vampire-themed birthday party (oi! stop laughing!).
Human Blood Caffeinated Energy Potion 'looks and feels like human blood' and comes in a resealable bag, which looks just like a transfusion bag you just pinched from the hospital (you deviant, you). It claims to taste of fruit punch and contains 80mg of caffeine. There is also a Zombie Blood potion available, which also comes in a transfusion bag and has a cheerful biohazard symbol slapped on it. Oh, and it's green and tastes of lime. (I need to find somewhere that ships these to the UK...)
NOTE: I have updated my Castle Party post because, like a plonker, I had already previously posted the video I used. So, new video! Also, I really must stop posting so many vids... a gothumentary that I posted (Goth Vampire Nation) inconveniently died and I had to delete the post... grrr.
Listening to: Greensward Grey - Cinema Strange