Many people have heard that Absinthe is different, that it’s not like other alcoholic beverages. By why is this? How is it different? What does Absinthe do?
Absinthe, also known as the Green Fairy, is a wonderful anise flavored liquor which is made from distilling alcohol with a recipe of herbs including wormwood, fennel and aniseed. The wormwood (artemisia asbinthium) is the herb that gives Absinthe its name and its characteristic slight bitter taste. Wormwood is also the reason why Absinthe was banned in the early 1900s.
The medical profession and the prohibition movement, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, were determined to get Absinthe banned. They claimed that Absinthe contained large amounts of thujone, a chemical found in wormwood, and that thujone was like THC in cannabis. They claimed that Absinthe caused psychedelic effects such as hallucinations and that made people addicted to Absinthe and drove them to insanity. It was even alleged that Absinthe caused a man to murder his family.
Absinthe was eventually banned in many countries in the early 1900s because governments believed that Absinthe was a danger. In countries where it was illegal, Absinthe could not be bought, sold or served. If people wanted Absinthe, they either had to get it shipped from abroad or buy bootleg clandestine Absinthe. Bootleggers in Switzerland distilled clear, or La Bleue, Absinthes so that people did not see that it was Absinthe.
So, is Absinthe dangerous? Does it cause hallucinations? What does Absinthe do?
We now know that Absinthe is just as safe as any strong spirit. Test and studies on vintage Absinthe have shown that Absinthe did not contain large amounts of thujone, only very small amounts, and that it could not possibly cause hallucinations. Ted Breaux, an Absinthe distiller who tested vintage bottles of Absinthe, found that pre ban Absinthe only contained a maximum of 6mg/kg of thujone. Absinthe with up to 10mg/kg of thujone is now legal in the EU and US but as Ted Breaux says “I would have to consume about three liters of Absinthe at the European limit to have any clinically discernible effects from thujone, and I’d be long dead from the alcohol by that point.”
Of course, Absinthe is an incredibly strong liquor, about twice the strength of whisky or vodka, so it will get you drunk easily! The drunkenness from Absinthe is said to be a strange “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness where your mind is freed and your senses are heightened – curious!
The difference between Absinthe and other beverages is the preparation involved in serving the perfect Absinthe. The traditional method of preparing the drink is called “The Ritual”. Follow this guide to make the perfect Absinthe:-
– Buy a good quality Absinthe containing wormwood from a shop or make your own using essences from AbsintheKit.com.
– Pour a shot of Absinthe into an Absinthe glass.
– Place a sugar lump or cube onto a slotted Absinthe spoon.
– Drip iced water over the sugar so that the sugar dissolves into the Absinthe.
– Watch the Absinthe louche as the essential oils of the herbs come out of the alcohol and cause the mixture to cloud and go milky.
– Stir and serve.
A ratio of 3:1 to 5:1 water to Absinthe is the recommended dilution.
Enjoy your drink of the Green Fairy.
So, what does Absinthe do? Well, it isn’t dangerous and it doesn’t cause hallucinations but it can make you drunk, a weird drunkenness, and it’s a drink that louches when diluted. That’s what Absinthe does.