Absinthe Minded

A swing and a miss. When we showed up at Sugar House on a Wednesday, it was closed. Had I looked at either of the Sugar House websites — www.sugarhouselounge.com, which describes a cool lounge for trendy, beautiful people who are tired of the downtown scene, and www.sugarhousedenver.com, which describes a place frequented by those who "tend to be Denver swingers or couples that have an open mind and are looking to meet other couples who are at least curious about aspects of the Denver 'lifestyle'" — I would have known that both incarnations are open only on Friday and Saturday nights. But we weren't about to give up after driving south from that downtown scene, and when we knocked on the door, owner Scottie Ewing invited us in. I'd heard about his absinthe parties, and since he's infamous for arranging assignations, I thought he'd be the perfect person to introduce me to the now-legal "Green Fairy." Absinthe was wildly popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially among artsy types like Edgar Allan Poe, van Gogh and Picasso, but until this year it had been banned in this country. At Scottie's suggestion, I first tried it served in the traditional way ($8.50), in a glass as ice-cold mineral water dripped through a sugar cube into the absinthe. And then, inspired by the uninhibited decor of Sugar House — including numerous beds — I decided to broaden my horizons with Absinthe Minded (8.50). Made with Lucid Absinthe, St. Germaine, pineapple and cranberry juice, and served up in a glass with a sugared rim, this drink tasted much better than just herbs and anise. And while I don't know if I felt the hallucinogenic effects of absinthe, which contains the active ingredient Thujone, I do know that the cocktail kicked my ass within moments — but that could have been because it was 126 proof. Otherwise, though, my ass left unscathed by any "lifestyle" experience.


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