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Peche celebrates Bastille Day, tiki cocktails

Arianna Auber

Although absinthe didn’t become the drink of choice for many French people until the late 1800s, when a parasite wiped out much of the grape crop in Europe, it’ll be a favorite spirit for people to commemorate Bastille Day with today in both France and the U.S. Bastille Day is a nod to July 14, 1789, when Parisian citizens stormed the Bastille, a prison fortress, in an act that soon after led to the abolishment of feudalism.

In fact, Peche is offering $5 Pernod Absinthe, as well as $5 Bastille whiskey, throughout the night. And Peche bartender Cameron Garrett offers up these facts about absinthe, a very misunderstood alcoholic drink derived from botanicals that only recently has begun to get its good name back.

  • Absinthe is often a green color, but not always. It can also be brown, clear, “even yellow and light blue,” Garrett says. The light green of some absinthe comes from anise, a flowering plant, one of the three ingredients that absinthe must have to be considered absinthe. The other two necessary ingredients are wormwood and fennel.
  • The spirit also known as “the green fairy” was originally a regional cure-all in France and Switzerland, a malaria preventive that French troops developed a liking for and brought back home with them.
  • When the grape crop that made wine, cognac and brandy scarce for some 30 years finally recovered, people in France were so accustomed to drinking absinthe at that point that winemakers had difficulty convincing them to return to wine. “So they smeared absinthe,” Garrett said, noting that it was made illegal in France in 1907, with the U.S. following suit not long after. Our country didn’t legalize absinthe until 2007 thanks to the untrue belief, perpetuated since the turn of the 20th century, that absinthe causes hallucinations. That’s one of the side effects of one of its ingredients, wormwood, but its quantity in absinthe isn’t high enough to be a problem.
  • At bars, it’s served cut with water that pours out of an absinthe drip, a way of making the absinthe drinkable. Peche and other places that have absinthe have also added it to cocktails.

Although it’s on special at Peche for one night only, it’s always available for a taste there. And after the success of Texas Tiki Week last month, another boozy treat will be at the downtown bar every Sunday — tiki cocktails for $10.

Try these five tiki cocktails at Tiki Sundays (leis and grass skirts not provided but recommended).

Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai: 8-year Demerara rum, Plantation rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, orange juice, orgeat, dry curacao

Missionary’s Downfall: Light Puerto Rican rum, Peach Brandy, honey, lime juice, pineapple, mint

Suffering Bastard: Gin, cognac, lime, simple syrup, angostura bitters, ginger beer

Mitsubishi Fly-By: Bermuda rum, orgeat, orange juice, lime juice, pineapple gomme, allspice dram

Sicilian Spike: Creole Shrub, Amaro CioCiaro, orange juice, grapefruit juice, passionfruit syrup, amaretto