Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Mysterious Nature of Absinthe

You have seen paintings of people drinking it. Perhaps you have heard of that it contains properties that create hallucinations? It has a long and illustrious name dated back to the early Greeks. It is sometimes known as the Green Fairy. Have you guessed? Absinthe!

Wormwood extracts and wine soaked wormwood leaves were indeed used for medicinal purposes in Greece. In the 19th century, artists and writers such as Toulouse Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh,and Oscar Wilde were found of drinking Absinthe. American writer Ernest Hemingway was known to be fond of the drink as well. However, the mysterious side effects of the drink, coupled with a strong reaction against the Bohemian culture lead social conservatives and temperance activists to lobby for a ban on the production and consumption of the drink.even

The liquor type substance is derived from the herbs and flowers of the "grande wormwood" plant. Its qualities are markedly different from those of the other alcoholic beverages such as gin or vodka. Because of the chemicals in the plant, the experience of being intoxicated on this liquor is quite different. It has a very high proof rating thus intoxication occurs far more rapidly when the "green fairy" is consumed without first being diluted. The 19th century ban, which has lasted almost one hundred years, was the result of myths about the hallucinogenic properties of the drink. However, current research has refuted those myths.

In the 1990's the Green Fairy experienced a resurgence in Europe. Now, there are over 200 brands of Absinthe manufactured. The United States allows Absinthe to be sold in this country now absent of thujone, a property of the wormwood plant. Responsible drinking is always required when consuming liquor.

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