ABSINTHE - How to Enjoy
Absinthe is now available in the U.S. and many stores carry it.
As an art teacher, I love Van Gogh and Rembrandt the most.
The color in the painting of the absinthe glass is the one people strive for and is most elusive.
The Green Fairy is refered to as the spirit of absinthe.
This is the drink of the Bohemia of Paris as Absinthe Lucid Superieure says on their website.
I hope you enjoy this journey!
How to Make ABSINTHE - How to Enjoy
- A good absinthe is primary to making a great cocktail. There are many kinds and I am showing one here.
This is a French Absinth with mellow color and flavor.
Absinthe currently comes in blue, clear, red, brown, green and yellow with different percentages of alcohol content.
The flavor can be strongly herbal or more of an anise taste depending on the brewer.
- One pours the absinthe in an absinthe glass made primarily for this purpose. In many absinthe glasses there is a little well or reservoir that measures the amount of alcohol to add to the glass.
This is a glass like the ones I have and is an authentic traditional La Rochere pontarlier style.
La Rochere has been making glass for nearly 700 hundred years and they make beautiful absinthe glasses, carafes, plates and many other glass products.
In France, drinks are served on a small bistro saucer that has the price fired onto it. At the end of the evening the plates are collected and the prices added up for the bill.
- There is also the French style of spoon used in the absinthe drink making process. Here are several styles and many are currently available. There are, of course, collectible ones for sale.
The spoon is set atop the glass and a large sugar cube is placed on the spoon. The water from the fountain trickles over the sugar into the glass to add just the right amount of sweetness.
- The fountain shown here is a reproduction in white brass and glass of a typical cafe water fountain. They can be had with 2 or 4 spigots that enable 2 or 4 drinks to be made at once.
The glass container is filled with ice and then water. The ice water reacts with the ingredients in the absinthe and creates what is called a louche.
The ice water reacts with the herbs to create a most lovely desired cloud which seems to fascinate the drinker. The fountain pictured here is like the one I have. Some of them are really beautiful and ornate in the French Salon style.
Although the fountains are desired a carafe of ice water will do just as well.
- Here a Czech manner of drinking absinthe. Many of the other European absinthes are very high in alcohol although the same is true of some French produced absinthe.
This kind of preparation adds a bit of fun drama to the ritual. Indeed for some serious absinthe drinkers it is a ritual.
A bit of alcohol is poured over the sugar cube then lit on fire. The sugar carmelizes and drips into the glass.
Very serious absinthe drinkers find this method a fad and believe it should not be prepared in this manner at all.
"With 111 mg of thujone it is the most potent absinthe available anywhere in the world today. The Czech Republic is the only country where the liquor laws do not limit thujone content levels."
Thujone is wrongly considered a psychoactive herb, wormwood, that made Absinthe popular during Belle Epoque (beautiful era).
As you can see from the picture, the absinthe spoons come in handy.
- HISTORY of Absinthe:
Early use of wormwood elixirs date back to ancient time and Hippocrates who prescribed it for jaundice and rheumatism. Pythagoras recommended it for childbirth.
More recently, absinthe distilling was performed by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in Switzerland in 1792. He experimented with its use in his practice.
After Dr. Ordinaire's death, the recipe was left to a couple of sisters who passed it on to Major Dubied's son-in-law named Henri Louis Pernod. They started distilling absinthe in Switzerland in 1797 using this recipe. Later, a new distillery was opened in France in 1805.
From France, absinthe came to New Orleans. Herbsaint was considered a superior absinthe. Herb Sainte has continued to be made in the U.S. without Atemisia absinthium.
A sort of informal ban has been in force in the U.S. but apparently not leagally banned for the last 95 years. (?) Due to the hysteria of easily led citizens maligning wormwood as the cause of many violent crimes, absinthe was banned in a few other countries too. Somehow, this ban did not include Spain and the United Kingdom.
Violent crimes occured due to many other alcoholic beverages as well. Temperance leagues, however, saw that absinthe was banned in France in 1908, July 5th.
There has never been any proof that distilled wormwood in the form of alcoholic beverages has ever been harmful unless abused as any other alcohol might be.
In 2011, the French ban on Absinthe was repealed.
From U.S.A. Today article dated 9/27/2007: "Banned in the USA since 1912 because of its supposed hallucinogenic effects, authentic absinthe returned in legal forms this year."
- Here is a link for peer review & other scientific papers regarding thujone the active substance in Artemisia absinthium including the years 1869 to 2009.
WARNINGS: associated with wormwood and wormwood oil specifically.
"Wormwood is safe when taken in the amounts commonly found in food and beverages including bitters and vermouth, as long as these products are thujone-free. Wormwood containing thujone is UNSAFE when it is taken in large amounts or over a long period of time. Thujone can cause seizures, muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), kidney failure, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, vomiting, stomach cramps, dizziness, tremors, urine retention, thirst, numbness of arms and legs, paralysis, and death.
Not enough is known to rate the safety of using wormwood topically.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Wormwood is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in greater than food amounts. The concern is the possible thujone content. Thujone might affect the uterus and endanger the pregnancy. It’s also best to avoid topical wormwood, since not enough is known about the safety of applying wormwood directly to the skin.
If you are breast-feeding, don’t use wormwood until more is known about safety.
Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Wormwood may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking wormwood."
A rare inherited blood condition called porphyria: Any thujone present in wormwood oil might increase the body’s production of chemicals called porphyrins. This could make porphyria worse."
- Common names for wormwood:
Absinth, Absinthe, Absinthe Suisse, Absinthii Herba, Absinthites, Absinthium, Ajenjo, Alvine, Armoise, Armoise Absinthe, Armoise Amère, Armoise Commune, Armoise Vulgaire, Artesian Absinthium, Artemisia absinthium, Common Wormwood, Grande Absinthe, Green Ginger, Herba Artemisae, Herbe aux Vers, Herbe d'Absinthe, Herbe Sainte, Indhana, Lapsent, Menu Alvine, Qing Hao, Vilayati Afsanteen, Wermut, Wermutkraut, Western Wormwood, Wurmkraut.
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- Absinthe Cocktails:
2 oz. of dry Vermouth
1 oz. Benedictine
1/4 oz. absinthe
Serve ice cold
Garnish with orange twist
1 cube of sugar
4 dashes of bitters
1/4 cup rye whiskey
1/2 teaspoon of absinthe
Serve ice cold
Garnish with orange twist
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