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National Absinthe Day- March 5th

What is Absinthe?

Absinthe is a distilled beverage, high in alcohol (45-74% ABV / 90-148 US. Proof), with anise-flavoring deriving from botanicals. Green anise, sweet fennel, wormwood and other medicinal and culinary herbs are including in the making of this mysterious spirit.

Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century but became very popular in the 19th and 20th century in France. It was highly consumed by the Parisian artists and writers though it was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists due to its association with bohemian culture.

Why is Absinthe so mysterious?

Well, Absinthe has always been known to be dangerous because of the addictive psychoactive chemical compound thujone, found in this spirit. In 1915, Absinthe was banned in the United States and parts of Europe. Recent studies though have proved that the psychoactive properties have been slightly exaggerated.

In the 1990s the European Union food and beverage laws removed the stop to production and sales of Absinthe and the revival began. By early 21st century there were about 200 brands of Absinthe being produced in mainly France, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, and Czech.

So, is it legal in the US?

On July 17th, 2007, Absinthe became legal again in the US. It was classified as not dangerous and has been added bars spirit lists mixed in with the rest of the anise-flavored selections.

How is Absinthe consumed?

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Due to its high concentration of alcohol, Absinthe is typically served diluted by water. First, you start off filling a small glass with Absinthe. Then, you place a spoon on top of the glass with one sugar cube on it. You proceed to slowly drip water on the sugar cube until the cube has fully dissolved. The result should be about 4 parts water, 1 part Absinthe.

Go out and buy some legal Absinthe. I’m sure you will find the herbal taste to be extremely pleasant!