Absinthe: 10 Well Known (and not so well know) FACTS

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Most backpackers and student travelers will here about Absinthe Wormwood at some point of their trip planning stage or while on the road traveling through Europe, so it’s worth giving a re-cap on this topic.

Absinthe Wormwood, one of the most mysterious and enigmatic character of the European backpacker scene. Many people know this fascinating character as “La Fèe Verte” or “The Green Fairy”, and those who have had the pleasure of making acquaintance with this larger than life personality comment on the indelible experience, and are always eager in anticipation for their next meeting.

Much of the details of Absinthe Wormwood’s early life are shrouded in a curious combination of fact and fiction. Absinthe was a brainchild of Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in 1792. The good doctor had high hopes that Absinthe would follow in his footsteps and bring cures to people suffering from all types of ailments. Unfortunately, the crowd that followed consisted of more artists and aristocrats than the sick and ailing. Such was the popularity of this well-liked individual, some people began to spread rumors about the strange behavior, with such claims as ‘addictive’, ‘psychotic’ being used liberally and without much evidence.

Eventually, this led to the exile of Absinthe Wormwood from many countries, but the stigmata associated with this outrageous vilification didn’t sway the countless admirers and supporters who fought to erase this injustice. Today, many have tried to imitate and copy the original style and taste of this legendary elixir, but from my understanding, the new versions are close but still just shy of the real deal.

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10 Well-known (and not so well-known) FACTS about Absinthe

1. The green color associated with the drink comes from the chlorophyll, which is the same compound that plants use to capture the sun’s energy in the process of photosynthesis.

2. Absinthe is not a hallucination, as much as many in the past have claimed, and will not make drinkers high or make you go crazy.

3. Real absinthe should not be overly bitter. Good quality absinthe should have a smooth, refreshing and delicious taste

Watch Americans try Absinthe for the first time.

4. The best absinthe is produced in France, Switzerland and Spain. There are many imitations made in the Czech Republic and Germany, so be wary. Also avoid purchasing any absinthe extract kits because the process of producing high quality absinthe from distillation is much more complicated.

5. Sage contains a much higher concentration of thujone, one of the main active ingredients in absinthe.

6. Traditional absinthe contain between 55-72% alcohol. It is interesting to note that laboratories use 70-80% alcohol to disinfect bench space.

7. On that note, some of the ailments that absinthe was supposed to having been recommend for the treatment of include of epilepsy, gout, kidney stones, colic, headaches and worms.

8. Many famous works of art were undoubtedly inspired by absinthe, among those were some of Degas’ and Van Gogh greatest masterpieces, as well as the very first cubist paintings by Picasso and Braque. All these artists were known to indulge, perhaps not so moderately, in this green elixir of creativity.

9. Despite being banned in the US, France, Switzerland and many other countries, absinthe has never been banned in the United Kingdom, which is probably not all that surprising really!

10. Man has yet to discover a form of alcohol that can be drunk in excess. Absinthe is no exception to the rule so don’t go trying it.

Absinthe’s mystery solved.

If you’ve had any experience with Absinthe, please share them with us!

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