Absinth takes its name from "artemisia absinthium". The Latin name for wormwood (artemisia absinthium).
Ab·sinth is also known as ab·sinthe a green liqueur having an anise or licorice flavor
with a high alcohol content and other herbs.
Chlorophyll was then added to give Absinthe a green hue thus giving rise to its romantic nickname
"La Fée Verte" or the "Green Fairy".
Why the different spelling of Absinth / Absinthe? Absinthe with the "e" is the Swiss and French spelling,
but since 1914 Absinthe in France has been illegal. So most production of Absinth moved to Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) where they do not use the "e", so the spelling is ABSINTH. The Spanish say Absenta and the Italians say Assenzio.
"Artemisia absinthium" is the botanical name for the herb wormwood and the ingredient which contains the thujone. Which supposedly accounts for its alleged mind altering properties. Wormwood is an herb that has psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties. Wormwood is said to affect the neuro receptors in the brain in a way similar to THC.
It is often stated that the Absinthe produced in the 19th century had much larger amounts of thujone present than are allowed in today’s versions of the drink, which have to comply with EU limits of 10 mg/l.
(Thujone: C10H16O Pronunciation: 'thü-"jOn)
Absinth contains the psychoactive and essential ingredient, wormwood (artemisia absinthium).
That according to famous writers and artists inspired their work, affecting their minds in curious ways.
Absinth effects every individual differently but people have experienced hallucinations, not being able to see,
to seeing things move and some have surreal or obscene dreams.
There is anecdotal evidence that drinking Absinth produces a clarity of thought that is not usually associated with alcoholic drinks.
For many it’s an aphrodisiac as in the ancient times. Wormwood has had a long history in folk medicine dating back as far as ancient Greece when it was prescribed for rheumatism, jaundice, menstrual pains
and as an aid in childbirth.
Although there were no studies to support this at the time. In 1844 Absinthe was issued to French legionnaires fighting in Algeria as it was believed to prevent fever and kill bacteria in water.
In 1975 researchers found that diluted oil of wormwood did inhibit the growth of 4 out of 7 types of bacteria.
(Kaul VK; Nigam SS; Dhar KL. Antimicrobial activities of the essential oils of artemisia absinthium,
Indian Journal of Pharmacy, 1976, 38 (1), 21-22).
Recent studies have demonstrated that extracts of wormwood (and other plants used in Absinth) have CNS cholinergic receptor binding activity and therefore contrary to accepted wisdom, Absinth may actually improve cognitive function. (Wake et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2000 Feb;69 (2):105-14).
The health problems experienced by chronic users were likely to have been caused by adulterants in inferior brands and by the high levels of alcohol present.
Recently in Canada "the level of thujone in Absinth was determined by the testing lab at the liquor control board in Ontario to not pose any health concerns".
Wormwood was used to flavor alcoholic drinks as far back as 1792.
When a potion was created by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland.
Ordinaire first prescribed it as a general tonic but it is doubtful whether he performed any objective research. Ordinaire's elixir contained local ingredients including wormwood bark, star anise, liquorice, fennel, hyssop, coriander, melissa and various other local herbs and 68% alcohol.
Ordinaire’s recipe eventually found its way into the hands of Henri-Louis Pernod who established
the Pernod fils dynasty when he opened his first distillery in 1805.
Soon ‘Extrait d’absinthe’ stopped being a local curiosity and started on its route to becoming
a national phenomenon in France. By the end of the 19th century it had been embraced by the bourgeoisie and demimonde alike with over 2 million litres being consumed annually in France.
Absinthe became very popular particularly in Paris where the new drink became fashionable among artists and intellectuals. From the mid 19th century onwards Absinthe became associated with bohemian Paris and featured frequently in the paintings of such artists as Manet, Van Gough and Picasso.
For certain impressionist painters, Absinthe was as essential as the paintbrush and canvas.
When they were not painting it they were drinking it in large quantities.
Joined by writers such as Baudelaire, Verlaine, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway.
It was the emerald drink of mad artists and writers.
In fact Absinthe was not just popular amongst artists and writers, the Parisian cafés were full of gentlemen drinking Absinthe. So much so that the time between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm became known as "L'heure verte" and Absinthe was the most popular aperitif in France. Soaking the floors of 19th-century Montmarte cafes and New York cocktail bars alike. Before Absinthe was outlawed in Europe in the first decades of the twentieth century, particularly in France, the emerald green elixir was a mainstay of the bohemian crowd.
But in 1915, Absinthe, the "green curse of France" was banned across much of the world for its concoction of hallucinogenic wormwood and alcohol ranging from 55% to 85%.
So if Absinth was so popular, why was it banned? There were a number of reasons.
It got caught up in the temperance movement that was sweeping Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and became the scapegoat for all alcohol.
Also pressure from the wine producers who saw its popularity as a threat to their sales which had been badly hit by the spread of phylloxera through the European vineyards.
Another nail was driven in the coffin with the lurid "Absinthe Murder" which took place in Switzerland in 1905
when one Monsieur Lanfray shot his entire family after drinking Absinth. The fact that he had also consumed several litres of wine and a considerable amount of Brandy was overlooked by the prohibitionists and two years later Absinthe was banned in Switzerland.
Absinth has never been banned in the UK, much to the despair of politicians and The Daily Mail,
which rather hysterically compared it to "using Vodka, cannabis and LSD all at the same time."
In Britain, David O'Farrell, bar manager at The Clock in Surry Hills, serves the spirit in a cocktail.
"We steer people off drinking it in shots. Apart from the wormwood, which has hallucinogenic properties,
it is stronger than any other alcohol you can get."
Today laws in the United States prohibit the manufacturing and sales of Absinth with "wormwood".
Absinth cannot be sold in the United States and Absinth can not be shipped into the United States.
Internet orders are subject to seizure by U.S. Customs.
Customs has seized many packages of Absinth ordered by consumers over the internet this year.
Also the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, Fedex and other shipping companies will not transport a "flammable liquid".
When you visit Mexico you can have all the Absinth you like!
It’s all natural and contains no artificial colors or flavors. Just herbs!
Now that it has been discovered that Absinth is harmless, there are some countries in the world which allow the production of Absinth with the presence of wormwood (which is really its defining characteristic).
And now that the prohibition has been lifted, nightclubs, restaurants and liquor stores in Mexico
can offer you the best in Absinth products.
What is the Absinth experience like?
That is difficult to explain, as all things are different to all of us.
We think that Absinth will make you maybe reflective, maybe creative, but definetly pleasant and always enjoyable. Certainly it will produce an effect unlike that of alcohol alone.
There have been many things attributed to Absinth, from creativity to its aphrodisiac qualities
and we believe in them all!
We suggest YOU try Absinth and tell us what you think.
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