The Absinthe fairy was used on Absinthe label and posters. Singer Kylie Minogue famously played the Green Fairy in the film Moulin Rouge which was based on the french Bohemian culture of Montmartre in Paris where Absinthe, the Green Fairy, was the favorite drink of artists and writers.
Absinthe Fairy Followers
Famous devotees of La Fee Verte, the Green Fairy, were Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Gauguin, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway who created his own Absinthe cocktail “Death in the Afternoon” – a mix of Absinthe and champagne. Writers and artists claimed that Absinthe gave them their genius and their inspiration and many pieces of art of the time feature Absinthe or Absinthe drinkers. The Belle Epoque period of history was the hey day for Absinthe.
Absinthe, also known as Absynthe, is a strong liquor made from herbs and essential oils. Its vital ingredient is the herb wormwood, an extract from the plant wormwood or artemisia absinthium. Wormwood gives Absinthe its characteristic bitter taste and herbs like aniseed, anise and fennel give the spirit its anise flavor.
Thujone, a chemical found in wormwood oil, was thought to be psychoactive and to give psychedelic effects, cause hallucinations and eventually insanity. This combined with the loose morals of the drinkers in Montmartre gave prohibition campaigners ammunition to get Absinthe banned in France in 1915. Buying or selling Absinthe was outlawed. Many other countries also banned it. Spain, where Absinthe was called Absenta, Portugal, the UK and the Czech Republic did not ban the Green Fairy.
Absinthe Fairy and Prohibition
During the prohibition period, distilleries, such as the Pernod Fils distillery, started producing Absinthe substitutes such as Pernod Pastis to market to the people who were missing the anise flavor of Absinthe. Ricard was another Absinthe substitute.
In many countries bootleg absinthe was still distilled and sold and fortunately this has meant that knowledge regarding the distilling of Absinthe has never been lost.
In the 1990s Absinthe was made legal in many countries, although Switzerland, home of Absinthe, had to wait until 2005 for legalization. You can now buy Absinthe and Absinthe essence kits online along with Absinthiana such as glasses, spoons and fountains. Drinking Absinthe out of a special antique or replica glass with a proper spoon really adds to the Absinthe preparation ritual.
Absinthe was legalized because studies showed that the liquor only contained minute quantities of thujone and that it was just as safe as drinking other strong spirits. Absinthe is much higher in alcohol than other spirits such as whisky and vodka but was never designed to drink neat. It should be mixed with iced water which allows you to enjoy La Louche – the clouding that happens when the water mixes with the alcohol.
You can order real wormwood Absinthe from many websites and essences to make your own bottled Absinthe are available from AbsintheKit.com.