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Apr 27, 2009 04:03 PM

Where to drink Absinthe in Montreal bars?

What are the best bars to drink Absinthe in Montreal? I know Billy Kun offers it, but are there other places?

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  1. There is L'Absinthe on St. Denis just south of Sherbrooke and Lab also makes a nice absinthe based drink with apple liquor called the Applesinthe. That's all that I know of.

    I can never get into Billy Kun... I suppose I should show up earlier.

    1. I have seen it at Dieu de Ciel on Laurier.

      1. Plan B (Billy Kun's ''backup'' place, as packed if not more than Billy Kun, but with a nice (but small) terrase, just west on the other side of the street) has Absinthe, it gave my friend a handover headache the next day.

        1. They only changed the laws for allowing personal consumption of this Spirit drink in 2007. Before 2007 Absinthe was not legal in Canada.
          I am pretty sure if you are drinking Absinthe in Montreal it's been diluted or moderated to fit Canadian standard. Real Absinthe has an alcohol level of 45%-74% ABV. In the early 1900's Absinthe was portrayed as a dangerously addictive Psychoactive drug. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in most European countries except the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
          Quebec allows 5 mg/kg. The government wine and spirit shops (SAQ) sell several brands of Absinthe.

          Production is regulated by provincial governments. Recently, Okanagan Spirits in British Columbia released the Taboo brand, which is presently the only commercial absinthe crafted in Canada.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Alyson777

            Um, this has what to do with the original poster's query?

            «I am pretty sure if you are drinking Absinthe in Montreal it's been diluted or moderated to fit Canadian standard. Real Absinthe has an alcohol level of 45%-74% ABV.»

            Currently on offer at your friendly neighbourhood government wine and spirit shops:

            - 69 Absinthe boisson à base de plantes et d'absinthe (Code SAQ : 10333538): 69% abv
            - Absente boisson à base de plantes et d'absinthe (Code SAQ : 00568576): 55%
            - Hills' Absinthe boisson alcoolique d'absinthe (Code SAQ : 00587204): 70%
            - Pernod aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe (Code SAQ : 10447324): 68%
            - Taboo Genuine Absinthe liqueur d'herbe (Code SAQ : 11043882): 60%
            - Versinthe liqueur d'anis aux plantes d'absinthe (Code SAQ : 00598649): 45%

            1. re: carswell

              It has to due with the fact that while reading the original post I was under the assumption that Canada was not permitted to sell Absinthe. Therefore I wasnt sure if there were any other bars to list. I am sure I am not the only one who thought Absinthe wasnt sold here..

              1. re: carswell

                Thanks for the research. I had a bit of trouble finding out if any SAQ's in Montreal actually had these items in stock. Does anyone know of an SAQ (preferably in the NDG area or downtown) that stocks any of these?

                1. re: MickFlanagen

                  You can check an oultet's inventory of any item on the SAQ website. Just make sure you follow-up with a phone call before you schlep out to the other side of town. I don't believe online inventories are up to the minute.


                  1. re: SnackHappy

                    «I don't believe online inventories are up to the minute.»

                    Up to the second, actually. They've gone real time on us.

                    1. re: SnackHappy

                      The Taboo is only available in Quebec city and I would really like to get some here. Anyone know if they can deliver between SAQs? I know that I could order direct from BC, but that might take a while.

                      1. re: The Chemist

                        I bought two bottles of Taboo several weeks ago at the Signature on Ste Catherine - they seemed to have additional supply.

                    2. re: MickFlanagen

                      What SnackHappy said. IIRC the downtown Signature store has the Pernod.

                      1. re: carswell

                        Pernod is what I tend to drink. I've never had any problem getting it at any SAQ. Is it just me?

                        1. re: bigfellow

                          Pernod and Pernod aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe are two different products.

                          1. re: bigfellow

                            Referring here to Pernod aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe, which runs $77 per 700-ml bottle and isn't the same product as regular Pernod. I believe it is the original Pernod, however.


                            1. re: carswell

                              My error. Thank you for the clarification. I will have to try it.

                  2. The new restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel will have an absinthe bar. The grand opening is planned for mid-June.