Food & Spirits: Drink Absinthe On the Strasburg Railroad


I’m surprised hipsters haven’t discovered absinthe yet. A spirit with hundreds of years of history, mystique, and malignment, only to be banned in many countries of the world due to a false hysteria before it was finally realized that it is no more dangerous than any other alcohol. Out of sight, out of mind, and slowly making a comeback. Very slowly. It was made legal in the United States again in 2005. Since entering the world of cocktails and mixology, I have found absinthe to be one of my favorite spirits. Maybe it is the history guy in me. It is actually a large chunk of the History of Liquor class I teach at Brookdale Community College several times a year. So, where does the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania come in? Well, on October 15, they are hosting an evening absinthe cocktail tasting aboard one of their first class train cars. Talk about getting a taste of history.

My schedule most likely will not allow for me to get to Pennsylvania in October, so I will be jealous of anyone who is able to make this event. The ride begins at 6 p.m. where guests will be served six different absinthe cocktails as well as hors d’oeuvres. Price of admission is $38, which is fantastic when you consider the prices of drinks today (especially those with absinthe, which is expensive) and the fact that they are giving you food. Apparently, this is in addition to the regular train ride ticket, which for first class is $20. Still, it is not bad.

A shot from our May visit to the Strasburg Railroad, aboard the parlor car. Pictured: the remnants of a Fuzzy Navel, Jack Daniels on the rocks, and a cheese & fruit plate.
A shot from our May visit to the Strasburg Railroad, aboard the parlor car. Pictured: the remnants of a Fuzzy Navel, Jack Daniels on the rocks, and a cheese & fruit plate.

I rode the Strasburg Railroad when I was a kid, and again with Will this spring in the parlor car. It was a wonderful experience to be able to sit on a restored 1800’s train car and sip a couple of drinks. Normally, I shy away from tourist-y things to do, but it was nice to relive a bit of my childhood (with the addition of alcohol libations now).

It would be impossible for me to outright tell you to go to this because I won’t be there myself and have never been to one of their special events, but if I was able, I wold definitely go. Absinthe is one of my favorite spirits, though I do not drink it often. It’s usually reserved for special occasions or moments. I own two bottles—Lucid and Vieux Carre—both of which have their own little perks and unique uses. There is the famous “Death in the Afternoon” cocktail as well as the Sazerac, which are my two favorite absinthe cocktails to work with. Normally, I drink it the classic way, with ice-cold water and a sugar cube. Can’t go wrong with any of them. What will they be serving up on this night? Leave a comment if you plan on attending.

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