Absinthe - also called the "green fairy" - is made according to a long tradition from anise, fennel, wormwood and other herbs. The name "green fairy" comes from the typical green color of the spirit and it is said to have hallucinogenic effects.
The story of Absinthe
People already knew about the special healing power of wormwood and other mugwort species in 3550 B.C.
In Val de Travers, which belongs to what is now Switzerland, is the birthplace of the "Elixir d'Absinthe". It was here in the 18th century that the spirit was first produced and used as a remedy. The popularity of Absinthe spread particularly strongly in France in the 19th-20th century, especially among artists the consumption was very common. It is assumed that this was due to the much higher thujone (wormwood oil) dosage at that time and its hallucinogenic and mind-expanding effects. In French cities, even a "green hour" was set up in the afternoon and consumption was considered trendy. A spoon with sugar cubes was placed on the Absinthe glass, diluted drop by drop with water and the typical milky green trace in the Absinthe glass could be seen.
The excessive long-term consumption led after a short time to the development of an anti-absinthe movement. Demonstrations were organized and a famous murder case under Absinthe influence (and tons of other spirits) made the barrel overflow - the production and distribution of thujone containing drinks was widely forbidden. The black market flourished until 2001, when new, stricter thujone regulations were passed and absinthe was legalized as a spirit again.
The production of Absinthe
The neutral or wine alcohol is mixed (macerated) with anise, fennel, wormwood or other herbs that round off the taste. This alcohol-herbal mixture is then distilled. The bitter substances of wormwood are left behind and make the final product - the absinthe - edible. A strongly pronounced bitterness is a sign of poor distillation and the use of wormwood essences of inferior quality.
The characteristic green color comes from other herbs such as lemon balm, hyssop or Pontic wormwood, which of course is also reflected in the individual taste. The alcohol content of this wormwood spirit is in the upper range with 45-85% vol.
It is possible that the fresh green color changes to a light yellow or even brown in the course of time, the reason for this is the decomposition of chlorophyll in the bottle. However, the taste is not lost.
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