There are different types of wormwood and it is important, when making or buying Absinthe, to know what kind of wormwood should be used for Absinthe making.
Wormwoods are in a group of plants called the artemisias which, in turn, are members of the Aster (Asteraceae) family of plants. Artemisias include:-
- Tarragon (artemisia drancunculus)
- Sagebrush (artemisia tridentata tridentata)
- Sweet wormwood (artemisia annua)
- Levant wormwood (artemisia cina)
- Silver king artemisia (artemisia ludoviciana albula)
- Roman wormwood (artemsia pontica) or petite wormwood.
- Southernwood (artemisia abrotanum)
- Common wormwood ((artemisia absinthium) or grande wormwood.
What kind of wormwood should be used for Absinthe distillation?
Although substitute Absinthes are often flavored with southernwood and roman wormwood is often added to Absinthe as an extra flavoring, the traditional wormwood used in the distillation of real Absinthe is common wormwood.
The common wormwood plant has tiny yellow flowers and silver gray leaves which have oil producing glands on them. The plant can grow up to 1.5m tall and typically grows in North Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean, in rocky areas or arid ground. The leaves and flowers are collected and dried for use as a natural herb or essential oil.
Common wormwood has been used in medicine since ancient times as an antiseptic, to treat intestinal worms, as a digestive tonic and to reduce fevers. It contains a chemical called thujone which was thought to be psychoactive and to cause psychedelic effects in Absinthe drinkers. Claims that Absinthe was dangerous due to its large amounts of thujone, caused the drink to be banned in the early 1900s. Research and studies have since shown that Absinthe is just as safe to consume as any other strong liquor. It is now legal in most countries.
Although thujone is a neurotoxin and can cause convulsions when consumed in large amounts, Absinthe actually only contains small amounts of thujone and you would die of alcohol poisoning before being able to consume enough Absinthe for thujone to have any effect on you.
It is the wormwood that gives Absinthe its name and its characteristic bitter taste. You need to buy an original Absinthe which contains wormwood to be able to experience the true Absinthe taste. You can even make your own wormwood Absinthe by using top-quality essences from AbsintheKit.com. These essences are distilled with traditional Absinthe herbs, including Wormwood, aniseed and fennel. Simply mix with vodka or Everclear to make a real Absinthe.
Once you have bought or made your Absinthe you will want to prepare the perfect drink using the traditional “Ritual” of dripping iced water over a cube of sugar and into the Absinthe to cause it to louche. To get yourself in the Absinthe mood, you could use real antique Absinthiana (Absinthe equipment) or replicas to take yourself back to the 19th century! Collectible Absinthiana includes:-
- Absinthe glasses – An Absinthe glass is quite large to accommodate the Absinthe and water.
- Cuilleres – A cuillere is an Absinthe spoon. Absinthe spoons are slotted and made to rest over the rim of an Absinthe glass.
- An Absinthe pyrogene – A pyrogene is a porcelain match striker which was put on the table for people to use while smoking and enjoying their Absinthe. They often advertised a particular brand of Absinthe.
You can also buy Absinthe fountains and drippers.
AbsintheKit.com sell replica Absinthe glasses such as a Pontarlier style glass, and spoons such as the lovely Eiffel Tower spoon. Touches like these really add to the Absinthe experience.
To enjoy the real flavor of Absinthe, remember to buy Absinthe containing wormwood. What kind of wormwood should be used for Absinthe? Common wormwood (grande wormwood or artemisia absinthium).