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Homepage > History of Absinthe

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History of Absinthe

Bitter licorice flavored herbal liqueur, Absinthe is distilled with herbs such as warmwood, anise, licorice, fennel and lemon balm. Absinthe drinks were traditionally served with a sugar cube placed on a slotted Absinthe spoon with water poured over it.

As warmwood was available since the Middle Ages, a French doctor named Pierre Ordinaire invented the drink in 1789. And Henri-Louis Pernod opened the first distillery to mass produce Absinthe in Switzerland. He then moved the distillery to France in 1805.

Absinthe is now illegal in the United States since July 25, 1912. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits the sale of spirits containinig toxic chemical thujone, the oils in wormwood.

In the 19th century, Absinthe was a popular drink in France. It was often consumed at cafes during happy hours known as "Green Hour." Absinthe also reached the cafes in New Orleans and gained its popularity there too.

As popularity of Absinthe grew, "Absinthism" became a major public concern. In 1910 Absinthe production was banned in Switzerland, and just four years later in France.

Absinthe contains high alcohol content usually around 68% abv. In the late 17th century to early 18th century, it was produced at a higher stregnth at around 75% abv.

Absinthe can be made from neutral spirit (such as vodka) using cereals or grapes as the starch source according to the International Center for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD). It is the warmwood that gives Absinthe its green color and bitter flavor.

"Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks. Great success shooting the knife into the piano. The woodworms are so bad and eat hell out of all furniture that you can always claim the woodworms did it." - Ernest Hemingway.

Absinthe Cocktails

The Absinthe House Frappe
- 1 1/4 ounce of Herbsaint
- 1/4 ounce of Anisette
Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice add the ingredients. And top with a splash of soda water.

Old Absinthe House, 240 Bourbon Street
Originally the building was an importing firm and later it became a corner grocery store. In 1815, the ground floor was converted into a saloon known as "Aleix's Coffee House." In 1874, mixologist Cayetano Ferrer created Absinthe-based cocktail called "Old Absinthe House Frappe."

Old Time Sazerac
- 1 part Absente
- 2 parts bourbon
- water
- sugar cube
- bitters
Fill an old fashioned glass with ice. Pour a shot of Absente and top with water and let it sit. Separately in a shaker, mix 1 shot of Absente, 2 shots of bourbon and top with water. Add 1 sugar cube and a dash of bitters. Shake until cold. Emply the first glass then strain the shaker's contents into the coated, cool glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Absinte French Fizz
- 1 oz Absente
- 1 oz Alize (passion)
- 1/4 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1/2 oz Sweet & Sour mix
- Club Soda
Mix all the ingredients except club soda in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and/or maraschino cherry.

Absente by Crillon Importers
Absente, "Absinthe Refined" drink is a modern version of Absenthe flavored green liqueur made from a combination of botanicals. The company claims that the only difference between the original Absenthe banned in 1915 in the U.S. and Absente is wormwood is replaced with a less bitter cousin called Southern-Wormwood also known as Petite Absinthe, which allows the product to be distributed in the U.S. market.

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