02 Nov Rare Luxury Absinthe Box and Spoon Set – New Design from Hermes & Zeus
After discovering Theodoros Fotiadis and his design firm Hermes & Zeus, I wrote about their ultra-modern IF60 Luxury Powerboat. Browsing some of H&Z’s other creations, which range from yachts, architecture to jewelry, I spotted a very unique tribute to to an age-old tradition. This is his Absinthe Box, which is used for in the classic French absinthe ritual, which dates back to the 1850s. I contacted them about it and they shared some details and pics that I can share with our readers.
If you’re not familiar with the drink of absinthe, it’s a highly alcoholic, anise-flavored spirit with a signature green color, derived from a range of medicinal and culinary herbs. It’s notorious for it’s inclusion of wormwood, which was always rumored to give the drink hallucinogenic properties. A known patron of the “Green Fairy” was Vincent van Gogh. After an evening of heavily drinking it, he famously cut off his ear and gifted it to a prostitute that had posed for him before.
The ritual used with this kit is to sweeten the absinthe with sugar. Using a special slotted spoon, water is dripped onto sugar, melting it into the goblet below before drinking. With absinthe banned in the early 1900s due to health concerns and public hysteria, its modern revival started in the 1990s with it becoming legal in a few European countries and production started again. In the early 2000s the trend grew, with commercial distilleries opening and many active today. With classical and new interpretations of Absinthe available today, variations of the ritual have appeared.
Despite the growing popularity of traditional and quality absinthe production, there is a gap in the tools needed for the ritual. In classic times an absinthe box and spoon were made of the highest craftsmanship and materials. Searching today, you’ll rarely find quality antique spoons and you’ll find plenty that are cheaply made or essentially “costume jewelry”.
What this box and spoon represents is a return to the luxury of absinthe’s prime in late 1800s France. The box is handmade out of Macassar Ebony wood, giving it unique black stripes against the brown. Native to India and S.E. Asia, this ultra-hard wood actually sinks in water, making it a challenge to work with. Inside the goblet and absinthe soon are protected by fine leather padding. Every silver piece you see, from the spoon, goblet, hinges to the buttons on the leather, is made of pure silver.
This masterful tribute to the Absinthe ritual was originally designed and crafted for an exhibition in New York as a one-of-a-kind piece. With interest from collectors and absinthe connoisseurs, creator Theodoros Fotiadis will be making more copies as limited editions. I’m not sure on the amount, but we can assume there will be very few produced. So if you’re interested in learning more or purchasing a box set, please visit Hermes&Zeus.com.