Absinthe was initially invented in Switzerland by a French doctor Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. Initially it had been regarded as a digestive tonic. The first absinthe distillery was opened up in Switzerland by Henri-Louis Pernod. In 1805, Pernod transferred to a greater distillery in Pontarlier, France. Through the middle of the nineteenth century, absinthe was crowned the beloved drink of the upper class in France and Europe. It came to be passionately called as the green fairy (La Fee Verte) or absinthe fairy.
In the initial years it had been wine based; however, in 1870’s the devastation of the vineyards pressured manufacturers to use grain alcohol. This made absinthe very popular as now everyone can afford it and the bohemian way of life of the nineteenth century appreciated it. The green fairy was very well liked in France and it was common for the French to begin their day with the drink and end the day together with the green fairy. It was widely believed that absinthe had aphrodisiac qualities. Great writers and artists attributed their imagination to absinthe.
Absinthe is essentially an alcoholic beverage made using an extract from the herb wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). When poured in a glass it’s emerald green and extremely bitter. The absinthe book bitterness is a result of the presence of absinthium. Traditionally absinthe is taken with sugar cube and also ice cold water. Intricate ritual is followed in the preparation of the drink which also enhances its aura and mystery.
The conventional French ritual involves pouring an oz of absinthe inside a glass and putting a special flat perforated absinthe spoon to the glass. A sugar cube will then be placed on the spoon and ice cold water is slowly and gradually dripped on the sugar cube. As the sugar cube dissolves in water it falls in to the glass. Ice cold water will then be added onto the glass. As water is added, the absinthe drink turns opaque white. This is called the louche effect. Louching happens as essential oils are precipitated out of the alcoholic solution. The drink is stirred with the spoon and then sipped gradually. The Czech ritual is more fun and exciting. In the Czech routine, absinthe is poured within the glass and a flat perforated spoon is placed on top, a sugar cube is then placed on the spoon and after that the cube is saturated in absinthe and ignited. As the cube caramelizes and melts it falls in the glass, ice cold water is then added and the drink is sipped slowly.
Absinthe is also known as absynthe; it is called absenta in Spanish. Some of the famous personalities who were avid drinkers of absinthe included Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde. Absinthe has created a wonderful comeback nowadays with most European countries lifting the ban imposed at the start of the twentieth century. It’s fine liquor with high alcohol content. Pastis is similar to absinthe and it had also been originally made out of wormwood. Nevertheless, licorice is the principal flavor in pastis.
Anyone in Europe can now buy absinthe and enjoy the company of the green fairy or absinthe fairy. People in the USA can purchase absinthe on-line from non-US producers. It is legal to posses and drink absinthe in the US.