Absinthe was initially invented in Switzerland by a French doctor Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. Initially it was thought to be a digestive tonic. The first absinthe distillery was opened up in Switzerland by Henri-Louis Pernod. In 1805, Pernod moved to a bigger distillery in Pontarlier, France. By the middle of the nineteenth century, absinthe was crowned the beloved drink of the upper class in France and Europe. It had become passionately known as the green fairy (La Fee Verte) or absinthe fairy.
While in the initial years it was wine based; however, in 1870’s the destruction of the vineyards forced manufacturers to work with grain alcohol. This made absinthe very popular as now everyone could afford it and the bohemian lifestyle of the nineteenth century accepted it. The green fairy was very popular in France and it was common for the French to begin their day with the drink and end the day in the company of the green fairy. It was widely thought that absinthe had aphrodisiac qualities. Great writers and artists credited their creativeness to absinthe.
Absinthe is essentially an alcoholic drink made with an extract from the herb wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). When poured within a glass it is actually emerald green and incredibly bitter. The absinthebook.com bitterness is a result of the existence of absinthium. Typically absinthe is taken with sugar cube as well as ice cold water. Sophisticated ritual is followed in the groundwork of the drink which increases its aura and mystery.
The conventional French ritual entails pouring an oz of absinthe in a glass and placing a special flat perforated absinthe spoon on the glass. A sugar cube is put 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 is then 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 practice, absinthe is poured within the glass and a flat perforated spoon is placed on the top, a sugar cube will then be placed on the spoon and then the cube is soaked 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 known as 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 sensational comeback these days with most European countries lifting the prohibition imposed at the beginning of the 20th century. It is fine liquor with high alcohol content. Pastis is a lot like absinthe and it was also originally made from wormwood. However, licorice is the principal flavor in pastis.
Anyone in Europe is now able to buy absinthe and relish the company of the green fairy or absinthe fairy. US citizens can purchase absinthe online from non-US producers. It is actually legal to posses and drink absinthe in the States.