Mere mention of the word “absinthe” conjures colorful imagery of a world gone by, a world filled with beauty, creativity, controversy and madness.
Originally crafted as a distilled folk medicine from the Swiss outback, absinthe emerged as a curious tonic of the rural Franco-Swiss culture. Having caught the fancy of an intrepid businessman who became enchanted with its powers, the commercial world was allowed to receive its first taste of the distinctive green spirit in 1805.
Throughout the 1800s, absinthe reigned as a defining icon of the Belle Époque in France (The Beautiful Era). Many an artist caught a glimpse of the world through absinthe-colored glasses, including the likes of Van Gogh, Manet, Degas, and Picasso.
Across the pond in the “little Paris” that we call “New Orleans”, the creoles were reveling in a café culture all their own at The Old Absinthe House located in the heart and soul of the French Quarter.
But like all good things, the bittersweet popularity of absinthe would come to a controversial end at the hands of those who stood to profit from its demise. Bad science, bad religion, and bad government would pin all societal problems not on the decadent culture that fostered them, but on the cloudy green national drink.
Almost a century later, armed with better science, strange religion, and sympathetic government, the few, the proud, the champions of all things absinthe have resurrected the Green Fairy and vindicated her from the accusations.
-- T. A. Breaux - Absinthe Historian / Chemist - Creator of Lucid, the first absinthe allowed into the USA after being banned for 95 years.
Top Ten Things to Know About Absinthe
1. Absinthe is a French word that means wormwood.
2. Absinthe is pronounced AB-sent.
3. Wormwood is an herb.
4. The oil in wormwood is called thujone.
5. Green Fairy is a nickname for absinthe. 6. La Fee Verte is French for Green Fairy.
7. Absinthe was banned in America in 1912 and practically worldwide by 1915.
8. Chemist and absinthe historian, Ted A. Breaux is responsible for getting the first absinthe back into America in 2007.
9. Pernod was the very first absinthe.
10. Historic partaking of absinthe does not include setting anything on fire.