A Night of Absinthe and American Gangsters

The Urban Girl Squad led us in a night of prohibition style drinking. From the walking tour through the basement of an original speakeasy to the shots of homemade absinthe, it was like stepping into the middle of a gangster squad film.

Our night started with a tour of the Museum of the Ammerican Gangster. We donned our hard hats and headed down to the basement, where gangsters of the prohibition era hid their millions in gold in safes and rigged tunnels with dynamite for a quick escape. The speakeasy has a rich history. Aside from being a hide out for top crime figures, it is said that Frank Sinatra once worked as a waiter there and John Coltrane played with his live jazz band there.

The enthralling history of the place is not the only gem that attracts people there, however. We gave our hard hats a rest and headed upstairs to the William Barnacle Tavern for a taste of their infamous homemade absinthe. We watched as the bartender showed us the art of preparing this green delight. First, he starts by pouring a bit of absinthe from the bottle into a shapely glass, particularly made for preparing absinthe.  Then he puts a slotted silver spoon over the glass, also made especially for absinthe preparation. He then perches a sugar cube onto the slot and lights it on fire. As the cube slowly melts and drips into the underlying absinthe, he pours cool water over it from an antique “absinthe fountain” and mixes it all together. Fun fact: you aren’t actually supposed to drink absinthe straight from the bottle- the alcohol proof is extremely high. So if you’re going to engage in a night of absinthe drinking, be sure you prepare it right- unless you want to see a green fairy jumping around in your head.

So if you’re fascinated by tales of speakeasies, original American gangsters, and can handle your liquor then spend a night at the William Bar Tavern