Absinthe, often known as the Green Fairy, is actually a herbal alcoholic drink with an anise flavor. It was the drink of La Belle Epoque period of history and of the Bohemian customs of Paris, in particular Montmartre. Absinthe fans – Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde and also Ernest Hemingway professed that the drink was responsible for their genius and that it presented them inspiration – the Green Fairy was their muse. But, what is in Absinthe?
What is in Absinthe?
Henri-Louis Pernod’s Absinthe in the early 19th century was produced using a wine based alcohol that has been distilled with natural herbs. It is known that his Absinthe recipe was made utilizing the plant common wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) and also other herbs including Florence fennel, green aniseed, hyssop, lemon balm, dittany, star anise, angelica, veronica, nutmeg and also juniper. Many of these herbs were used at the beginning of the procedure and others were utilized by the end to give the Absinthe its classic green or verte color.
Wormwood provided Absinthe its name (from Absinthium) as well as its somewhat bitter taste. Roman or petite wormwood (artemisia pontica) is additionally sometimes employed in Absinthe manufacturing.
Wormwood has a compound known as thujone. Thujones are monoterpenes and ketones that are seen in various other plants too – sage, cypress and tansy. Thujones act on the GABA receptors within the brain and can trigger convulsions as well as muscle spasms when taken in large quantities. They can also be toxic to organs like the liver and brain. Thujone was considered to be similar to THC in the drug cannabis creating psychedelic effects such as hallucinations but research has shown this to be false.
Wormwood, or thujone, was answerable for the banning of Absinthe in the early 1900s. The medical career of the time believed that drinking Absinthe triggered Absinthe addiction, Absinthism whose signs or symptoms were:-
– Hyper excitability
– Weakening of the intellect
– Brain damage
These claims have now been proved false and seem to be just part of the mass hysteria marketed by the prohibition movement of the time. Absinthe, even pre ban Absinthe, only contains very small quantities of thujone and it would be impossible to consume enough thujone to be harmful – you will die of alcohol poisoning first! There is much more thujone in sage and no one hallucinates after enjoying a casserole flavored with sage!
All good Absinthe includes wormwood and other essential oils. These oils allow the Absinthe to louche when water is put in Absinthe preparation and give it its wonderful anise flavor. Make sure that you purchase a quality Absinthe or create your own Absinthe utilizing a top-quality essence from AbsintheKit.com. See AbsintheKit.com for information and help regarding their Absinthe products.
Absinthe also contains alcohol and features a very high alcohol by volume, approximately 75% ABV. Care should be taken when drinking Absinthe, not because it could make you hallucinate but since it is so easy to get drunk on Absinthe particularly if you are mixing it along with other alcohol in cocktails.
I hope that this information has answered the question “What is in Absinthe?”. Enjoy getting to know the Green Fairy!