Green Fairy or Green Devil? - Atlas Obscura

Longmont, Colorado

Green Fairy or Green Devil?

Enjoy stories and samples of one of history’s most controversial alcohols, absinthe!

Join us for an intimate gathering and spirited conversations at the West Side Tavern. Guided by owner and mixologist, Westley Myles Isbutt, we’ll dare to try this mysterious spirit and learn more about its history. Depending upon who you ask, absinthe is either the fuel of genius or madness. What will it bring out in you? Only a taste will tell.

As we sip and sample, our talks will also turn to the legendary substance. Also known as The Green Fairy, absinthe is a highly-alcoholic beverage made by soaking wormwood leaves in wine or spirits. As early as 500 BC, it was used medicinally to treat everything from intestinal worms to menstrual pain.

In the 1800s, artists and writers celebrated absinthe as the Green Fairy of liberation, praising it for its creative inspiration. But soon, absinthe’s reputation took a harrowingly dark turn.

In August of 1905 in a small Swiss town, Jan Lanfray started his day with two glasses of absinthe. After that, he downed over two liters of wine and some brandy. That night, he murdered his pregnant wife and two daughters, shooting them with a pistol. As he cried in front of their coffins, he claimed he didn’t remember his violet fury.
What caused this loving father to murder his family? “Absinthe,” the mayor declared, “is the principal cause of a series of bloody crimes in our country.”

His case soon became known as “the absinthe murder” and fueled the anti-absinthe movement. By 1915, much of Europe and the US banned the Green Devil, making it the first alcohol to be specifically prohibited. Today, it is enjoying a resurgence, but has yet to shake its haunting history.

Tickets for this include:

  • A sample of absinthe
  • A craft cocktail of your choice

Additional Details

  • 21+ only, please bring your ID.
  • To maintain an intimate tasting experience, this event is limited to 18 people.
  • Free street parking available.
  • All guests will be asked to sign a waiver.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.


Email Hannah Finch at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.