December 22nd, 2007 — 10:14am

Absinthe, the turbo-charged, alcohol-laden, green fairy liquor of legend has been illegal in the United States for almost 100 years. Until now. St. Georges Spirits, a distillery in Alameda, Calif., near where I live in Berkeley, has just released a limited run.

Of course, I ordered a bottle.

“We’ll put you on the wait list,” the nice man at D&M Liquors in San Francisco said.

So I waited. Then I got the call. “The absinthe has landed.”

“I’ll take a bottle,” I said without hesitation, giving him my credit card number.

“By the way, how much is it?” I though to ask before I hung up.

“$95.00,” said the man. “Without shipping.”

Expensive — but no matter. I will drink it for the sake of culinary curiosity, and my long standing respect for altered states.

“By the way,” I asked him, “what is the deal with hallucinating on absinthe?”

“Don’t worry,” he replied, “you’ll pass out long before that happens.”

I read about the release of St. George in the New York Times, which said that while this particular absinthe had the usual anise and fennel flavoring, but it was subtle, unlike less refined absinthes. The St George also had layers of lemon balm, hyssop, tarragon and other botanicals.

My bottle is scheduled to arrive next week. Frankly, I can’t wait.

Oscar Wilde said: “After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”

I’ll let you know.

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