Absinthe liquor is a strong alcoholic drink which originated in Switzerland. It is an anise flavored spirit which has approximately twice the alcohol content of alcohol beverages such as whisky and vodka. Absinthe has a high ABV (Alcohol By Volume) but is usually diluted with water for drinking.
Absinthe is famous for its association with the french Bohemian crowd of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a popular drink and Van Gogh is the most famous Absinthe drinker. It is said that Van Gogh cut off his ear under the influence of Absinthe. Other historical drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Paul Verlaine, Charles Baudelaire and writer Ernest Hemingway who created an Absinthe cocktail called “Death in the Afternoon” which was made by mixing Absinthe with champagne.
Absinthe was also a popular drink in the Czech Republic, the USA and Catalonia in Spain.
What is Absinthe Liquor?
Absinthe is a spirit whose main ingredients are the herbs grande wormwood (Artemesia Absinthium), green anise and florence fennel. Other herbs and ingredients, such as licorice, star anise, angelica root, hyssop and sweet flag, are sometimes used in the production of Absinthe. These herbs give it its characteristic sour, bitter and aniseed taste It is available clear as Blanche Absinthe or La Bleue, but is generally emerald colored and that is why it was nicknamed “The Green Fairy” or “La Fee Verte”.
The banning of Absinthe in 1915 was a historic event. It was banned in many countries worldwide due to the alleged harmful effects of the chemical thujone present in the wormwood in Absinthe. The drinking of Absinthe was blamed for driving people insane and there was even a case where a heavy Absinthe drinker murdered his entire family. No regard was given to the fact that he was an alcoholic violent man anyway – his “insanity” was blamed on the two glasses of Absinthe he had consumed before drinking other alcohol. Absinthe was also thought to be addictive and a hallucinogen causing psychedelic effects similar to cannabis. These claims were entirely unsourced and Absinthe contained only minute quantities of thujone.
The French people very much missed the taste of Absinthe and so drinks such as Pernod Pastis and Ouzo became popular. These alcoholic beverages had the aniseed flavoring without the wormwood. The Absinthe industry was able to carry on in countries such as Spain. Portugal and the Czech Republic where Absinthe was never banned.
There was an Absinthe revival in the 1990s when studies showed that Absinthe was no more harmful than any other strong alcoholic drink. Many countries repealed their Absinthe ban and people were once again able to buy Absinthe by the bottle or in bars.
Making the Perfect Absinthe Liquor
There is a ritual to be followed in making the perfect Absinthe:-
- Pour Absinthe into an Absinthe glass.
- Place a sugar cube on an Absinthe spoon and rest on top of glass.
- Pour ice cold water slowly over the spoon into the Absinthe.
- Watch the Absinthe louche and become milky.
- Enjoy your perfect Absinthe!
Absinthe liquor is also a great addition in cocktail recipes – search on the Internet for Absinthe cocktail recipes.