Absinthe, also known as the Green Fairy, is actually a herbal alcoholic beverage with an anise flavor. It was the drink of La Belle Epoque period of history and of the Bohemian culture of Paris, specifically Montmartre. Absinthe fans – Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde and also Ernest Hemingway professed that the drink was accountable for their genius and that it provided them motivation – the Green Fairy was their muse. But, what is in Absinthe?
What is in Absinthe?
Henri-Louis Pernod’s Absinthe with the early nineteenth century was created by using a wine based alcohol which was distilled with natural herbs. It is known that his Absinthe recipe was developed making use of the plant common wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) as well as other herbs including Florence fennel, green aniseed, hyssop, lemon balm, dittany, star anise, angelica, veronica, nutmeg as well as juniper. Many of these herbs were utilized at the start of the procedure and others were used towards the end to give the Absinthe its classic green or verte color.
Wormwood gave Absinthe its name (from Absinthium) and its slightly bitter taste. Roman or petite wormwood (artemisia pontica) is also sometimes used in Absinthe production.
Wormwood has a substance called thujone. Thujones are monoterpenes and ketones that are found in several other plants too – sage, cypress and tansy. Thujones act on the GABA receptors within the brain and can trigger convulsions and muscle spasms when taken in large quantities. They can additionally be toxic to organs such as the liver and brain. Thujone was considered to be a lot like THC in the drug cannabis causing psychedelic effects like hallucinations but research has revealed this to be false.
Wormwood, or thujone, was accountable for the banning of Absinthe during the early 1900s. The medical career of the time claimed that drinking Absinthe triggered Absinthe addiction, Absinthism whose symptoms were:-
– Hyper excitability
– Weakening of the intellect
– Brain damage
These claims have now been proved false and appear to be just part of the mass hysteria marketed by the prohibition movement of that time. Absinthe, even pre ban Absinthe, only includes very small amounts of thujone and it would be impossible to take in enough thujone to be harmful – you will die of alcohol poisoning first! There is much more thujone in sage and no one hallucinates after consuming a casserole flavored with sage!
All good Absinthe is made up of wormwood along with other essential oils. These oils permit the Absinthe to louche when water is added in Absinthe preparation and give it its wonderful anise flavor. Make certain you obtain a quality Absinthe or create your own Absinthe using a top-quality essence from AbsintheKit.com. See AbsintheKit.com for info and help regarding their Absinthe products.
Absinthe also contains alcohol and it has a very high alcohol by volume, approximately 75% ABV. Care needs to be taken when drinking Absinthe, not mainly because it could make you hallucinate but because it’s really easy to get drunk on Absinthe specifically if you are mixing it with many other alcohol in cocktails.
I hope that this information has answered the question “What is in Absinthe?”. Enjoy learning the Green Fairy!