Should a solo female traveler drink absinth? I asked myself that question before booking an Airbnb Experience of an absinth tasting in Berlin, Germany.
My Previous Airbnb Experience Was Safe
Why was I second-guessing this decision? After all, a year prior, I met a strange man in a Berlin forest and had a fantastic time. It was an Airbnb Experience and I spent an amazing morning with a professional dogwalker learning about the dynamics of a dog pack and some commands.
Does Absinth Spark Creativity?
“It’ll f@#$ you up,” people said to me when I told them about the upcoming absinth tasting.
Artist Vincent Van Gogh and authors Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway all drank the alcoholic beverage and perhaps it sparked creativity. It’s nickname is “la fée verte,” or, Green Fairy, and appropriately, the Green Muse.
Most absinth are bottled at 70 percent alcohol or higher. It contains a psychoactive ingredient called thujone which is from wormwood, along with anise and fennel.
A Brief History of Absinth
Absinth has a complicated history so the abbreviated version is, the liquor originated in Switzerland in 1797. The liquor was banned in most of Europe in the early 1900s and the United States in 1912. Several countries lifted the ban in early 2000 and in 2007, absinth was legalized in the United States.
So, Should a Solo Female Traveler Drink Absinth?
Knowing this, should a solo female traveler drink absinth? My concern with participating in the tasting was the fear of losing my inhibitions. After reading the reviews about the absinth tasting experience on Airbnb, I decided yes, it was safe and. The location is near a U-Bahn station and early enough in the evening that I would be safe. Plus, I planned on enjoying dinner beforehand and reasoned I know my limits when it comes to alcohol.
Sidebar: Check out the post “A Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to Drinking Alone” by Amy of The Wayfarersbook.com for some great tips.
Wowza! What a Collection at Druide Bar in Berlin
Druide Bar in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood was the setting of the tasting. Host and bar co-owner Stefan said it holds Europe’s largest collection of absinth. During this hour-long experience, I sampled four different absinthes each prepared a different way and each had its own unique flavor. Before taking my first sip, Stefan provided an overview of the beverage. He also assured me drinking four glasses in an hour would not harm me.
A fanciful way absinth is prepared uses a spoon, a sugar cube, and a flame. Stefan placed a sugar cube on a spoon which rested over a glass. He lit the cube and I watched as the blue-ish flame melted the sugar. Another way was dripping water over a sugar cube. Three of the spirits tasted like licorice which is from the anise and fennel. The fourth tasted like cloves and cinnamon.
Did absinth f@#$ me up? No. Definitely not. Well, I don’t think so. Um. I really didn’t feel a buzz or anything really. I hopped on the Berlin U-Bahn (rapid transit railway) back to my hotel thinking everything was okay. Except, the train cars in front and behind the car I was sitting appeared to be seriously moving up and down and side to side. It was almost as if they were hovering over the track. Were they? Or had absinth tickled my brain?
Nuts & Bolts About Druide Bar’s Absinth Tasting
Druide Bar serves more than absinthe and is a terrific German neighborhood bar steps away from the Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn station. Look for the experience on Airbnb. When you participate in this Airbnb Experience, an absinthe spoon is included.
Schoenhauser Aller 42
Where to Eat in Berlin Near Druide Bar
Druide Bar is near plenty of eateries, especially ones with Middle Eastern influence. I decided on The Flying Monkey which is a dim sum bar and it was fantastic! It’s cash only and the dim sum dumplings are tasty. They do take a bit to prepare so plan on a leisurely meal. I ordered the “Holy Duck!” which is “Chinese-style grilled duck on mien noodles, plus a soup of spicy chicken stock” and an order of dumplings. Yum!
The Flying Monkey