At present there seems to be an Absinthe revival, a renewed interest in information on Absinthe, due to the fact that Absinthe has recently become legal in the United States. In 2007 the Absinthe “Lucid” was legalized in the USA and a few other brands have followed suit. The Green Fairy can once again be enjoyed in bars and homes across America.
Information on Absinthe
Absinthe is a strong spirit which was actually developed as an elixir or health tonic in the 18th century in Switzerland by Dr Pierre Ordinaire. From these humble beginnings in its heyday, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, it was even more popular than other alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and cider.
Made from a wine alcohol base and flavored with natural herb oils, Absinthe is a very different kind of alcohol. It is approximately twice the strength of whisky or vodka but is traditionally served diluted with iced water. Its main herbal ingredient is wormwood or Artemisia Absinthium. Absinthe gets its name from this plant and its characteristic bitter taste. The anise flavor comes from aniseed, fennel and anise which are classic herbal ingredients.
Wormwood has been used since ancient times in medicine for the treating of:-
– Parasitic intestinal worms
– Digestive problems
– To counteract poisoning from hemlock and toadstools.
It was also used as a tonic or “pick-me-up” and so was a natural choice for Ordinaire’s elixir.
Wormwood was responsible for Absinthe’s ban in the early 1900s. The chemical thujone, found in wormwood, was thought to be psychoactive, to cause psychedelic effects, addiction and insanity. Absinthe was compared to the drug cannabis and prohibitionists and members of the medical profession campaigned for Absinthe to be banned.
Studies have since shown that Absinthe contains only very small amounts of thujone and is perfectly safe to drink in moderation. EU and US legislation control the amount of thujone in Absinthe and other drinks but even vintage pre ban Absinthe would be able to be sold today.
Contrary to myths and urban legend, Absinthe will not make you hallucinate or “trip”. It is a lovely drink and will get you drunk quite easily but it does not contain enough wormwood to cause hallucinations.
There are many recipes online and kits available to make your own Absinthe at home. Making Absinthe from first ingredients such as blends of herbs is tricky and also illegal in the US where distillation of alcohol is only allowed if you have the correct license.
Some kits contain blends of Absinthe herbs which you mix with alcohol, steep and then filter after a few days but essences are far easier to use. AbsintheKit.com sell their already distilled Absinthe essences to the Absinthe industry and to the public. There are four essences available – a classic green essence, a white essence to make clear La Bleue style Absinthe, an orange flavored essence and a strong essence for those who like a stronger wormwood flavor.
Absinthe essences from AbsintheKit.com are easy to use – simply mix with vodka or Everclear and you’re done! They contain real herbs and essential oils such as wormwood, aniseed and fennel and will make a true classic Absinthe.
You will be able to find plenty of information on Absinthe online and why not use your homemade Absinthe to make tasty cocktails? Enjoy being creative with your Absinthe.