Absinthe in Czech Republic
We alway like to try the local food and drink when we travel. You can’t visit Porto without trying the port wine. When we visited the town of Cognac, we needed to sample a range of cognacs. Absinthe is widely found in the Czech Republic. When we looked at things to do in Prague, we found two large absinthe bars. After our river cruise one day, we decided to do a detour to visit an absinthe bar in Prague.
One night David went out after dark to look for interesting pictures. One of the places he found was the Green Devil’s Absinth Bar. It was lit up at night with a green glow, like the drink that is referred to as the “green fairy”. That was the spot David picked for our adventure.
A Little More About Absinthe
Absinthe is a high alcohol drink made from a variety of herbs. Anise and fennel gives it a liquorice flavour. Wormwood in the absinthe is responsible for the hallucinogenic side effects sometimes claimed. The actual chemical is thujone and it is illegal in many countries.
Absinthe (or absinth) is made in two forms in the Czech Republic. The more common and less expensive version is mixed and macerated. It is bitter and often served with sugar. The more expensive and rare form is distilled. The Green Devil’s Absinth Bar had a large supply of both versions. In the main showroom, there were many different absinthes for sale. Along with an interesting display case of cannabis products. Pot was decriminalized in Prague in 2010. David engaged Tomas in a discussion and we were invited to go downstairs to the bar for a tasting.
David had tried absinthe in France. But he wanted to sample the local Czech or Bohemian variety. He definitely wanted to visit an absinthe bar in Prague. David started with an absinthe ice cream cone. But that did not have the punch he was looking for. He could hardly taste the liquorice flavour!
The Green Devil’s Absinthe Bar Was An Interesting Spot
We should have known when we looked at the shop from the outside that the inside would prove to be equally as interesting. The theme of green devils was repeated throughout the shop. Green devils were sometimes offset by colourful fairies.
Everywhere we looked we saw an eclectic collection of knick knacks. Many of the decorations were absinthe in theme. Of course, no discussion of absinthe is complete without some discussion about Vincent Van Gogh.
The lower bar level had another extensive collection of different types of absinthe bottles.
We enjoyed just looking around when we chose to visit an absinthe bar in Prague.
Our Absinthe Taste Test
We watched Tomas take another couple through a taste test. So we had a bit of an idea of what the absinthe process was like. We chose to taste test one of the good distilled absinthes (St Antoine – 70% alcohol and 25mg/l thujone). The absinthe was poured into a glass. It looked like a clear liquor at this point. The glass was then put under a large glass container filled with ice water. You do not drink the absinthe straight!
Tomas opened one of the spigots and let water droplets fall slowly into the glass of absinthe. In a little bit of time as the absinthe was diluted, the liquid turned green. Tomas used a light to show us the colour. As the water droplets continued, the absinthe in the glass turned a more milky consistency, called the louche effect. This made the absinthe taste smoother. It is usually mixed 1:3 or 5 with water.
When the glass was full, Tomas gave us the full glass of absinthe and water. He also made sure we had another glass of cold water. For those people not used to drinking straight alcohol, it was one sip of water to one sip of the watered down absinthe.
Trying A Different Version Of Absinthe
Not to be content with drinking the watered down version, David asked Thomas about taking a shot straight. For this Tomas provided a small glass with the very strong, high drug content (200mg/l not 25mg/l) macerated absinthe. David was told to sip slowly and hold the liquor in this mouth before swallowing. It definitely had a stronger taste. But also had more of the liquorice taste that David was looking for.
David likes liquorice drinks so he definitely wanted to visit an absinthe bar in Prague. The absinthe did not have a strong liquorice taste and will not replace his favourite Italian liquorice drink. But it was still good to try.
Visit An Absinthe Bar In Prague For Something Different To Do
We did lots of tourist things in Prague. So it was great to visit an absinthe bar in Prague. It was not something we would normally seek out. But definitely the right spot to do it.
If you want to visit an absinthe bar in Prague, we would definitely recommend you visit the Green Devil’s Absinth Bar. It is located in the old part of town by the Old Town Square and behind the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn. The staff seemed very knowledgable. And the decoration of the bar itself was a great attraction!
We ran out of days on our visit to Prague. So we did not head back after dark. We were told that the bar was very busy at night. And had a very different vibe than our quiet day visit. That may be a livelier scene for you to see.
Did you visit an absinthe bar in Prague? What did you try?
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Interesting to visit towns based on the drinks they are famous for. I agree, with trying what each place is famous for. I have to admit that I have never had absinthe, but I love anise and fennel. Sounds like quite a combination – alcohol and pot all at 1 bar.
I think I might have liked it best in ice cream. Love the images from the Green Devil Absinthe Bar. I would go just to see the place and then try the absinthe.
Wendy, The Green Devils was such a great spot to visit. They did a great job decorating to the theme. I found the absinthe far too strong. But David loves anise and fennel too so he was absolutely going to try this. The ice cream had a very weak taste so if you love anise and fennel, it won’t do it for you. Linda
Didn’t realize absinthe was from Czech Republic. I like to try local liquors when I travel. Absinthe is so strong, I think I would like the milder ice cream version.
I didn’t know Absinthe was from here either. First tried it in Switzerland. I found it too strong but my husband really liked it. But the ice cream had almost no flavour. The experience in this bar though was worth the visit. Linda
Now that bar doesn’t just look like alot of fun but its a bit creepy and eerie too. Talk about an interesting walk through the history of Absinthe and a pretty cool pouring ritual. One could get pretty messed up there if you aren’t careful!
Dorene, The bar had so many interesting nooks. We went in the middle of the day but I am sure it would be spookier at night. I would not want to do a tasting of a full range of absinthes as it might be too dangerous. But one tasting was good! Linda
I’m a fan of all things licorice flavored so I would LOVE to try the ice cream and many some absinthe in small quantities too (I don’t trust myself with too much ha ha). I also did a wine and beer tour in Prague and I can attest to the fact that it’s a great city to discover with beverages and friends.
Vanessa, We wished we had done a wine or beer tour when we were in Prague. But hubby had to try Absinthe! If you like liquorice and visit Italy, try Licoriza. It is a local Italian digestive. Hubby bought a bottle before we left Milan this trip. Linda
I can’t say I’m the hugest fan of absinthe, but this bar looks too fun to pass up! I would definitely try the ice cream (even though I can’t stand licorice)
Mags, The bar was definitely a fun place to visit. Hubby had the absinthe and I just soaked up the atmosphere. The ice cream was very weak. Definitely some place I would add to my Prague list. Linda
Me too! I’m a foodie so when I travel, I really make it a point to try their local food and drinks. Will definitely put the port wine and absinthe in my bucket list. I haven’t heard or tried absinthe. And just look at that ice cream! 😉
Kirstie, We love to try local food and drink when we travel. Some we love (like Port) and some is mixed (like Absinthe). But the process of trying new things keeps us going back. And this was a great funky bar to try it! Linda
Looks like Absinthe has a good list of delightful drinks. Unfortunately I didn’t visit any bar during my tour there. I like the capture of water droplets fall slowly into the glass of absinthe. Well taken.
Indrani, It was interesting to try a couple of different types of Absinthe to understand the differences. The process to serve the Absinthe was fascinating to watch. A great show. Linda
Woah, this looks like a really cool bar! I like trying out new drinks from other places, and learning about how it all started. It tells a lot about the place’s culture, just like with food. Great photos, by the way!
Karla, Thanks for the photo feedback. We do too love to try local drinks. This was a great stop with interesting atmosphere too. Linda
We saw a lot of absinthe bars while in Prague, but we don’t drink at all, so we did not visit one. The process of making a n absinthe drink is so interesting! I’m sure it takes a lot of technique and skill.
Punita, It was great to visit this unique bar – even if you don’t drink. And the process was cool to watch too. Linda
What an interesting place , The Green devil Absinthe bar. It seems to have the right ambience. I am liking the artwork rather than anything else. We missed it when we are in Prague last year (how fast time passes). I have tasted Absinthe and other Anise flavoured drinks in France. I am sure there is always a next time.
Vasu, The Green Devil’s was definitely a fun spot to visit. Every spot was decorated in theme. It would be a good spot for you to stop if you visit Prague again. Linda
This was really interesting. Will surely visit when we are travelling there!
Shishira and Navneeth, The Absinth bar was a unique thing to do on our visit to Prague. Glad we planned to do it. Linda