Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Louisiana Eats: Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

"Absinthe Robette" lithograph by Henri Privat-Livemont from 1896, at the peak of absinthe's popularity.
Library of Congress
"Absinthe Robette" lithograph by Henri Privat-Livemont from 1896, at the peak of absinthe's popularity.

From the height of its popularity in the 19th century to its modern revival, absinthe has a long and storied reputation. On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we learn all about the formerly illicit elixir, and those whose ongoing fascination with the spirit has helped transform the discourse and regulations here in the United States.

Before false scientific claims and anti-absinthe hysteria lead to it to being banned for almost a century, Pernod Fils was the most celebrated commercial producer of absinthe. We speak with Anne-Louise Marquis, former Pernod brand ambassador, about the history of the preferred drink among artists, writers and bohemians.

Then, we turn to Ted Breaux, environmental chemist turned absinthe distiller from New Orleans, who explains his pivotal role in the legalization of absinthe in the United States by challenging misconceptions with scientific evidence and a dogged perseverance.

Next, we visit Atelier Vie, a New Orleans-based distillery that is reviving the absinthe tradition for a new generation of cocktailians. Distiller Jedd Haas puts his modern spin on original absinthe recipes with Toulouse Red, a botanically infused crimson-colored absinthe.

We also have a conversation with Ray and B.J. Bordelon, whose extensive collection of absinthe antiques and accouterments is on display at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The Bordelon brothers give us some insight into their obsession and show us some unique pieces of memorabilia that make up the exhibit.

Finally, spirits expert Noah Rothbaum tells us about the stories contained within old whiskey labels, bringing us back to the era of Prohibition and its clandestine speakeasies, as well as the state of the liquor industry immediately following its repeal.

We're chasing the green fairy on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.