Most of the well known artists and writers liked drinking Absinthe, the Green Fairy.
Absinthe is a strong alcoholic beveragedistilled at high proof but generally served diluted with iced water or in cocktails. Herbs and essential oils including wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium), aniseed and fennel is used for flavoring Absinthe liquor and it is usually made from a wine alcohol base. The preparation of Absinthe also involves other herbal ingredients such as hyssop, lemon balm, star anise, angelica, juniper, nutmeg, dittany, calamus root and mint.
Information about Absinthe History
Absinthe has a very long and interesting history. Its main herbal ingredient, wormwood, has been used in medicine since ancient times as a tonic and to stimulate digestion. Absinthe was produced by a French doctor, Dr Pierre Ordinaire in the late 18th century in the Swiss town of Couvet in the Val-de-Travers. It was used on the patients as an elixir which gave astonishing results.
In Couvet Henri-Louis Pernod was using the Absinthe recipe to distill Absinthe and under the name of Pernod Fils in the French town of Pontarlier. The Pernod company used to manufacture upto 30,000 liters of Absinthe each day!
Not only in France but also in several other nations Absinthe was a well known drink. In France Absinthe overtook wine as the favorite drink. Simultaneously there were concerns related to health and the effects of Absinthe. The liquor was linked to the Bohemian culture of Montmartre with its loose morals and artists and writers. The psychedelic effects, convulsions, insanity, brain damage and death was believed to be the causes from thujone.
According to the people’s thought Absinthe was the cause behind Van Gogh’s insanity and his suicide, a man killing his family and the rising rate of alcohol abuse in France. The USA and France restricted Absinthe in the year 1912 and 1915 respectively. Other countries also made it illegal to buy and sell Absinthe.
During the ban, people either drank Absinthe substitutes, such as Pernod Pastis, or bought bootleg Absinthe. Studies and research showed that the claims made about Absinthe were untrue.
Studies showed that the thujone content in Absinthe was so small that it cannot cause harmful side effects and drinking Absinthe was no more dangerous than other strong alcoholic beverages.
Absinthe with up to 10mg/kg of thujone was legalized in the EU in the late 20th century and in 2007, in the USA, certain brands of Absinthe, those containing up to 10 ppm, were legalized and Americans can now enjoy buying brands such as “Lucid” .
France, home of Pernod’s original Absinthestill has a ban on products labeled “Absinthe” and France also strictly regulates drinks containing fenchone, a chemical in fennel which is a key ingredient in Absinthe. To be sold in France, Absinthes have to be called another name like “spirit a base de plantes d’absinthe” and only contain up to 5mg per liter of fenchone.