Interest in absinthe has been increasing over the years, but Newsweek has noted that interest in the Green Fairy is growing even more. The variety with wormwood in it is illegal in the U. S., but you can get non-wormwood versions here. My husband and I love absinthe, but we want the real thing. The variety we can get at the local liquor store tastes a little too much like Nyquil with herbs. Absinthe over the centuries has been blamed for madness, hallucinations, and seizures.
We are excited about the news that an environmental chemist claims to have re-created the original using a recipe from bottles that are a couple hundred years old. I want to get a bottle of this stuff.
Now an environmental chemist from New Orleans named Ted Breaux claims to have re-created the original exactly, using a couple of hundred-year-old bottles of original Pernod absinthe to distill the recipe: a half-dozen-odd botanicals, including Spanish green anise, Alpine hyssop and absinthium. The result is Absinthe Edouard 72 (a staggering 144 proof) and Jade Verte Suisse 65 (130 proof), at $90 a bottle.
Every period detail is correct. Breaux, 39, chose Saumur’s Combier distillery in France, with the very stills used by Pernod in the 1870s. Even the obsolete driven-in corks are accurate. And what about the psychosis? Breaux says that it’s largely a myth: some of the old absinthe was toxic, but top brands like Pernod would have met modern European safety standards for thujone, the neurotoxin blamed for its hallucinations. Since thujone is still banned in the United States, tempted Americans will have to fly to Europe to sneak a taste of the original.
Absinthe has experienced a revival in Switzerland. I’ve heard of the Czech varieties, and I’ve heard to avoid them. Apparently, the manufacturers add green dye to the mix (Absinthe is light green in color). Absinthe was not a tradition in the Czech Republic, but manufacturers there began to make a fake version due to the re-emergence of popularity of the drink in the 1990s.
Here is a web site full of great old posters advertising Absinthe.
For Blogcritics readers, if you are interested in purchasing an Absinthe kit, complete with glass and slotted spoon, you may buy them at Amazon.