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Absinthe: “The Green Fairy” (La Fée Verte)

Absinthe dates back to the 18th Century. According to popular legend, Absinthe began as an all-purpose patent remedy created by Dr Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland around 1792. It is an anise-flavored spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood"), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. The success was immediate for use as a medical elixir and by 1805 Absinthe was produced in Pontallier, France, under the new company name Maison Pernod & Fils.

Green Anise, Grande Wormwood & Sweet Fennel

Absinthe's popularity grew steadily through the 18th century when it was given to French troops as a preventative cure for malaria. The custom of drinking Absinthe gradually became so popular in bars, bistros, cafés, and cabarets that, by the 1860’s, that 17:00 p.m. was called l'heure verte ("the green hour"). Absinthe was especially favored by all social classes, from the wealthy bourgeoisie, to poor artists and ordinary working-class people. However, by 1915 Absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria-Hungary, as it reportedly caused violent and crazy behaviour, often being portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. In 1905, Jean Lanfray, who was very intoxicated, murdered his wife. He supposedly only had two glasses of Absinthe but none the less, his trial became known as the "Absinthe Murder".

“Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis, and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country.”

~ Anonymous

In the 1990’s, realising the UK had never formally banned Absinthe, British importer BBH Spirits began to import Hill's Absinth from the Czech Republic, which sparked a modern resurgence in Absinthe's popularity.  By the early 21st century, nearly 200 brands of Absinthe were being produced in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

How to correctly serve Absinthe:

Fill the Absinthe fountain with ice cold water.

  1. Pour one tot of Absinthe into a special glass, than place the glass under the fountain.

  2. Add a sugar cube on the Absinthe spoon and place the spoon over the glass.

  3. Open the tap very slowly to allow the water to dissolve the sugar which drip into the glass and mix with the Absinthe.

  4. The Absinthe will change color from clear green to a milky green.