The fabled liquor Absinthe was banned in North America for decades for fear it caused hallucinations, but upon its legalization last year, people across the continent are scrambling to imbibe the spirit and get a little crazy. But where to enjoy it? The question has been answered; As part of a $14 million renovation project, InterContinental Montreal unveils its new bar – Sarah B. – the first absinthe bar in North America.
Two reflecting faces form the logo of Sarah B., a meeting of profiles that suggests intimacy and closeness, with a hint of madness and seductiveness (which they are calling pure “sexytude”). A glass of absinthe sits full of promise between the two. With a sumptuous walnut floor, Murano chandeliers and velvet banquettes, the hip 19th-century décor creates an eclectic atmosphere. The new bar invites guests to rediscover the rituals and legends surrounding the mysterious elixir, known as absinthe. From the art of decanting to the mystic hallucinations, the rites and tales of the “green fairy” are revisited.
This intimate and original setting takes its name from the divine Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923), the queen of French tragedy described by Victor Hugo as the “golden voice” of the 19th century. Her travels brought her to Quebec in 1880 where she gave a memorable performance in the auditorium of the historical Nordheimer Building. Since her death, it is said that her spirit still roams the site, which is today part of the InterContinental Montreal.
Sarah B. signature cocktails include:
– Jacques Cartier Collins: Versinthe, Absolut Pears, Limoncello, House Sweet ‘n Sour mix, soda
– Seasonal Absinthe Frappe: Versinthe, Marie Brizard anisette, Angostura bitter, basil leaves, seasonal fruits
– Mojito A La Mode: Versinthe, Bacardi, House Sweet ‘n Sour mix, strawberry puree, lemonade, basil, mint leaves
Additionally, Sarah B. offers a variety of delicious tapas prepared by Provençal Chef Matthieu Saunier. These little morsels of sunshine are a nod to the menu created for Osco!, a brasserie with the flavor of Provence which, as an extension of Sarah B., welcomes those who don’t want the evening to end.
Sarah B. also offers two intimate and plush rooms, each with its own relaxing fireplaces. The superb green velvet curtains framing the Green fairy alcoves may be drawn for a quiet chat over a glass of absinthe.