Checkered History of Absinthe


Absinthe was originally produced as medicine in the latter half of 18th century. This is a spirit with a checkered history which became a popular aperitif and an icon of France’s Belle Epoque. Unfortunately, bad press and ban across the world in early 20th century which have been now overturned, Absinthe is now legally available and resurgent in the United Kingdom with a renewed pace. Absinthe is widely consumed by poets and artists who are in search of inspiration. Fortunately, popularity of Absinthe is on the rise and which is helping shine a light on the spirit.

Making of Absinthe

A distilled spirit which is flavored with bitter wormwood and a choice of variety of botanicals including fennel and sweet anis, there are two main types of absinthe namely Verte & Blanche which are green & clear. Blanche is clear and is bottled immediately after distillation. Traditionally Vertes have been colored green by infusing the spirit with more botanicals before they are bottled. As of now there are numerous compounded Absinthes in the market alongside traditionally produced spirits. Compounded Absinthes use a variety of flavorings and artificial color and generally do not feature the same depth of color.

Hallucinations & Absinthe

Although there is a chemical in Absinthe known as Thujone which can cause hallucinations, it is highly unlikely that it does. Thujone is a component in wormwood, but the levels in Absinthe are so low that it would take huge quantities of the spirit in order to have any effect.

Consuming Absinthe

Absinthe is never drunk neat and is always diluted with chilled water in a ratio of 1:3:5. Traditions arising around serving of Absinthe include slow dripping of water on sugar cube sitting on Absinthe spoon adds mystique to the spirit. Absinthe fountain which is an elaborate multi-tapped vessel allows drinkers to dilute at the same time and is largely preferred by purists. Popular Absinthe cocktails include Corpse Reviver, Death in the Afternoon and Sazerac. Absinthe spoons are the most revered elegant artifacts in the world of spirits and which serve a useful purpose. Appearance of Absinthe spoons vary and some are shaped to resemble a wormwood leaf while others bear intricate art deco designs. Some Absinthe spoons are incredibly valuable and sell for hundreds and thousands of pounds.