451 E. Main St.
Having turned 30 this year, the thought of late nights at the bar have begun to lose their appeal. Maybe it’s a chemical change in my head or simply that I’m a bit lazy. There are nights when staying home to watch a film sounds better than schmoozing up to a bar in hopes that the cocktail I order will be just right.
Ventura has always had the big name stores to purchase all the ingredients for a classic cocktail, but it was only recently when a few artisan specialty stores popped up, offering something a little more off the cuff. At Vom Fass in Downtown Ventura, spirits come in a wide variety.
Vom Fass was once located in Thousand Oaks, but moved down the hill to Ventura just a few months ago. The German-born chain made its name off of its oils and vinegars, but tucked away in the back of the Main Street location is a wonderland of spirits.
Bourbon, scotch, gin and liqueurs make for a feast for the eyes. They’ll even give you a sample of your choosing. On my last visit, I carefully eyed a set up for the proper dispensing of absinthe, the anise-tinged herbaceous liqueur with a reputation for driving people mad (not true, but it does make it sound more exotic).
As gorgeous as it is to watch absinthe drip into a crystal glass over a sugar cube, it’s even better in a cocktail, namely the Sazerac cocktail. If you’ve ever had an Old Fashioned cocktail (sans the cherry and orange nightmare that some bartenders toss in for no reason) a Sazerac is similar, only with the addition of a bit of absinthe swirled around the glass before adding bourbon.
Vom Fass sells absinthe by the ounce as is the case with its wide variety of booze. Unfortunately, unlike its European counterparts, you can’t have a bottle filled on premises as everything comes pre-sealed (thanks, state law!), but if you’re ever in need of a rare liqueur for that obscure cocktail to impress your friends — or to pair with a film at home on a chilly night — drop in and peruse the collection.
Chris O’Neal never once saw a green fairy after consuming absinthe. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @agentoneal.