Absinthe. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you picture Vincent Van Gogh at a cafe in Paris sipping on some absinthe? Or perhaps you have visions of green fairies floating around you if you consume any. Sorry to disappoint, but there are no green fairies. And yes, Vincent Van Gogh did love absinthe and no (pure speculation of course) it did not contribute to him cutting off his ear.
100 years ago today, Food Inspection Decision 147 banned absinthe in the United States. This ban was lifted in 2007 and Lucid Brand became the first Absinthe sold in the U.S. for close to a century. The main reason for the banning the spirit was that they believed absinthe to be dangerous to your health. Many attributed absinthe to be an addictive psychoactive drug without any true evidence of this claim. Some also believe that the wine industry helped create this controversy and negative connotation by spreading propaganda against the spirit in an effort to help the wine industry.
Absinthe Dispenser sold at The Boston Shaker
Main Ingredients of Absinthe:
These ingredients are often referred to the “Holy Trinity”.
Other ingredients may include (vary on product):
- Star Anise
Remember: Good Absinthe does not need food coloring to be green. Read the labels of any bottle you come across and avoid those with Yellow dye #5.
Popular absinthe cocktails:
- Corpse Reviver #2
- Absinthe Frappe
- Death in the Afternoon
- Pontarlier Julep
- Soul Manhattan
Recently, we had the privilege to sit down with Alan Moss from La Clandestine Swiss Absinthe. We chatted about everything from the history and story of absinthe to present day absinthe and how the spirit is doing today. We also got to try some delicious absinthe cocktails at ArtBar in Cambridge mixed by the one and only, Elizabeth Powell.
Did you know Boston had it’s own absinthe? It dates back to 1902 and even though it is now being made by La Clandestine in Switzerland, its roots are here in Beantown.
Like any spirit you drink, it’s important to have an understanding of what you are drinking. Similar to what you eat. Why do we like certain potato chips? Because they are kettle cooked, reduced fat or maybe organic. Regardless of your preference, know what you are consuming. Appreciate the history, the labor of the beverage, and enjoy.
Have you ever tried high-quality absinthe?