Everyone has heard of the enchanting mythical drink, Absinthe – the drink thought to be hallucinogenic, the Green Fairy that could cause you to see fairies, the anise flavoured herbal spirit popular in Bohemian Montmartre. But, only a few people can respond to the question “What is Absinthe made of?”. They might say wormwood but not most will be capable of expand on that!
So, what is Absinthe made of?
Well, Absinthe was developed by the renowned Dr Pierre Ordinaire in Switzerland while in the late 18th century being an elixir for his patients. Henri-Louis Pernod started selling Absinthe from the commercial perspective at the turn of the nineteenth century and used a wine base and macerated herbs together with common wormwood (artemisia absinthium), fennel, green aniseed, hyssop, angelica root, lemon balm, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, veronica and juniper to flavor and shade the alcohol.
Other herbs used in Absinthe manufacturing include: calamus root, mint, cloves, sweet flag, licorice, caraway seeds, coriander seeds as well as roman wormwood (artemisia pontica) also known as petite wormwood. Claude-Alain Bugnon, the well-known bootlegger who now distills Absinthe in Switzerland, also flavors his La Clandestine Absinthe with local Alpine herbs which offer his Absinthe a taste of honey and a bouquet of Alpine meadows.
It is the essential oils of the herbs in Absinthe which result in the Absinthe to louche when water is added in. The oils are soluble in alcohol however, not in water and thus precipitate when the water is added making the drink turn cloudy or milky. If your Absinthe does not louche then it may not be a real Absinthe or a quality Absinthe abundant in essential oils.
AbsintheKit.com, who create distilled Absinthe essences for individuals to make real Absinthe from home, employ classic Absinthe herbs to flavor their essences. This signifies that Absinthe made from their essences will taste beautifully and also will louche beautifully.
Some Czech Absinth does not contain anise or aniseed and it is really just a form of wormwood bitters. Ensure that you purchase real anise and wormwood Absinthe to discover the real classic flavor.
The common wormwood plant is the most famous Absinthe ingredient, the ingredient which gives Absinthe its slightly bitter taste as well as the ingredient which caused Absinthe to be prohibited in many countries in the early 1900s. Initially used since ancient times as a medicine, it started to be defined as a psychoactive neurotoxin which trigger psychedelic effects just like hallucinations, convulsion and also spasms. Wormwood oil includes a chemical called thujon or thujone which has been compared to THC in cannabis. Absinthe was considered to contain vast amounts of thujone and to be responsible for driving individuals to insanity and even to death.
However, recent surveys and tests have demostrated that vintage Absinthe actually only was comprised of small amounts of thujone, nowhere near enough to be at all dangerous. EU and US laws only permit Absinthe with small quantities of thujone to be traded so Absinthe is flawlessly safe to use and enjoy.
Absinthe is a spirit or liquor not only a liqueur as it doesn’t have added sugar. It’s really a high proof alcoholic drink but is usually served diluted with iced water and sugar. While it is safe to take, you need to know that it is an incredibly strong spirit and definitely will quickly get you drunk particularly if you combine it with other spirits in cocktails!
So, the answer to the question “What is Absinthe made of?” is readily answered – alcohol and a mixture of herbs.