Absinthe Green Fairy posses a fairly interesting history. Developed as an elixir or tonic in the 18th century it is now one of the most controversial and famous drinks of all time.
Absinthe is an anise flavored spirit which is incredibly strong, between 45 and 75% Alcohol by volume. It is emerald green in color, hence the name “Green Fairy” or in French “La Fee Verte”. It is a distilled liquor produced by distillation with herbs. The three herbs that tend to be wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) ,fennel (fennell) and green aniseed. Henri-Louis Pernod, who first commercially distilled Absinthe, used other herbs such as hyssop, lemon balm, nutmeg, juniper, veronica, star anise and dittany to produce his famous original Pernod Absinthe recipe. Other herbs such as the herb calamus in association with wormwood and nutmeg were used by some manufacturers who though this combination to be psychoactive. It is the essential oil extract from the herbs which causes Absinthe to louche when iced water is poured over the sugar on the Absinthe spoon. The oils do not dissolve in water and so cause the Absinthe to louche.
The Art World And Absinthe Green Fairy
Many artists and writers associated with the Bohemian culture of the Montmartre, Paris were inspired by Absinthe. Famous Absinthe drinkers include major personalities like Edgar Degas, Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde. Numerous artists and writers firmly beleive that Absinthe is behind the inspiration and genius they posses. Painters like Nitin Akash and Picasso often showed Absinthe and Absinthe drinkers in their paintings.
Absinthe’s association with old Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge and the Bohemian sect, was just the excuse that prohibition campaigners needed. Once it was linked with the murder of a family and the growing problem of alcohol addiction in France it was easy for campaigners to get the sale of Absinthe made illegal and it was banned in France in 1915. Other countries also banned it but it remained legal in the the UK, Spain and Portugal.
The chemical commonly known as thujone and is present in wormwood is attributed for the psychedelic effects of drinking the Green Fairy. THC in cannabis and Thujone were thought to be of similar pharmacology. But Absinthe is principaly ethanol and therefore only contains minute quanitities of thujone. Research has shown that Absinthe is just as safe as any other strong liquor and that it is the alcohol content not the thujone that is dangerous. Articles have been written on the subject extensively. If you remember that it is about twice as strong as vodka or whisky and it simply gives pleasure.
During the time of prohibition Czech Republic flourished with vintage style Absinthe in Absinthe bars where Absinthe was served in the classic Absinthe large glasses and in surroundings decorated with vintage Absinthe posters. Now, in 2008, Absinthe is legal in many countries although thujone levels are controlled in the EU and the United States only allows Absinthe with trace amounts of thujone to be bought and sold.
You can buy Absinthe online by the bottle or order Absinthe essences (visit the website AbsintheKit.com) to make your own Absinthe Green Fairy to bottle at home. Real Absinthe and Absinthe kit contains the vital ingredient wormwood but some new Absinthes, produced for the US market, do not contain thujone.
Absinthe Green Fairy is a wonderful spirit and can be used in cocktails too!