In lieu of this month’s cocktail club, I took my show on the road…to the suburbs.

Yesterday afternoon at the massive, bunker-like Downers Grover Public Library, I delivered a talk on Paris & Prohibition tied to Chicago’s Big Read program, whose featured book, Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife, is a work of historical fiction told from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. I had started reading it forever ago — and then had to cram to finish before Sunday because I forgot I was reading it — and while I can’t say I loved it, it was chock-full of (possibly fabricated) little tidbits on drinking in Paris in the early 1920s.

Which, essentially, boils down to one thing: Absinthe.

Best I can tell, absinthe was to 1920s Paris what the cosmopolitan was to 1990s New York City.

Meanwhile, I found these fantastic little drawings via Pernod’s website:

Brandon Antczak, Pernod Absinthe art competition, 2011

Apparently the 200-year-old absinthe brand, long known as “the artist’s drink” (Hemingway among them), held an art contest last year. This one depicts the sugar-water ritual affiliated with drinking the stuff. I think it’s cute.

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