Absinthe the beloved drink of artists, intellectuals, and writers of nineteenth century Europe has made a terrific comeback as most countries in the Western World have now legalized the production and sale of absinthe. No drink in the history of modern man has received as many sobriquets as absinthe has. “The Green Fairy”, the “Green Muse” and “La Fee Verte” these are just a few sobriquets that this legendary yet controversial drink has been the recipient of.
Absinthe was the most popular drink of the nineteenth century Europe and had gained substantial following in the United States as well. It was invented by the French doctor Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in 1792 in Switzerland and was initially used to treat various stomach ailments. Absinthe had very high alcohol content and contained extracts of several herbs like wormwood, anise, fennel, hyssop, angelica root, veronica, mint, coriander, calamus, star anise, and many other. The main ingredient was the herb wormwood; wormwood contains thujone a chemical that has mild toxic properties. Absinthe soon became a famous alcoholic beverage and separate distilleries were set up in France and other parts of Europe to distill this fine liquor. However, due to its high alcohol content and supposed unique effects, absinthe soon got a bad name. There was a massive campaign carried out during the temperance movement in Europe, and absinthe was so demonized that ultimately by the beginning of the twentieth century it was banned by most countries in Europe and United States. Thujone was blamed for absinthe effects such as insanity, hallucinations, and absinthism. Most countries passed laws that categorized absinthe as a psychoactive substance.
Fortunately in the last few years of the twentieth century, new research conducted by scientists using modern analytical tools conclusively proved that absinthe does not contain harmful levels of thujone. In the light of such new discoveries most European countries lifted the ban imposed on absinthe. Absinthe continues to be illegal in the United States and it is a crime to produce and sell absinthe with thujone content more than 10 parts per million. However, possession of absinthe is not a crime in the US.
United States permits the sale of two absinthes Lucid and Kubler, both absinthes are made using the traditional absinthe recipe and contain very little thujone. These absinthes have a high alcohol content and thujone level of 10 parts per million; however, this cannot be considered as true absinthe due to its low thujone content. These absinthe also come with a heavy price tag and a bottle would cost anywhere from $75 to $100. American absinthes are actually watered down versions of genuine Swiss and other European absinthes.
Americans who want to try genuine absinthe have an easier option of buying absinthe online from non-US producers; however, you will have to find a real good supplier who will deliver as promised. The best bet American citizens have is to buy genuine high quality absinthe essence and prepare their very own absinthe at home. Absinthe essence is prepared using traditional absinthe recipes. 20ml of absinthe essence when mixed with 730 ml of vodka or Everclear will make 750 ml of high quality absinthe.
There are several websites selling absinthe kits and essence on the internet. The most trusted name is absinthekit.com; absinthekit.com specializes in absinthe essence, absinthe kits, absinthe artifacts such as spoons, glasses, absinthe labels, and other absinthe accessories.