Absinthe 1020598

Enjoying a glass of Absinthe in Prague.

Enjoying a glass of Absinthe in Prague.

Some Absinthe info from Wikipedia:

Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic (45–74% ABV) beverage. It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium (“grand wormwood”), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour but may also be colourless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as “la fée verte” (the green fairy). Although it is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a liqueur, absinthe is not traditionally bottled with added sugar; it is therefore classified as a spirit. Absinthe is traditionally bottled at a high level of alcohol by volume, but it is normally diluted with water prior to being consumed.

Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in the late 18th century. It rose to great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. Owing in part to its association with bohemian culture, the consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists. Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron and Alfred Jarry were all known absinthe drinkers.

Absinthe has often been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. The chemical compound thujone, although present in the spirit in only trace amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria-Hungary. Although absinthe was vilified, it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Recent studies have shown that absinthe’s psychoactive properties (apart from that of the alcohol) have been exaggerated.

The French word absinthe can refer either to the alcoholic beverage or, less commonly, to the actual wormwood plant, with grande absinthe being Artemisia absinthium, and petite absinthe being Artemisia pontica. The Latin name artemisia comes from Artemis, the ancient Greek goddess of the hunt. Absinthe is derived from the Latin absinthium, which in turn comes from the ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον apsínthion, “wormwood”. The use of Artemisia absinthium in a drink is attested in Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (I 936–950), where Lucretius indicates that a drink containing wormwood is given as medicine to children in a cup with honey on the brim to make it drinkable.

Absinthe’s popularity grew steadily through the 1840s, when absinthe was given to French troops as a malaria preventive. When the troops returned home, they brought their taste for absinthe home with them. The custom of drinking absinthe gradually became so popular in bars, bistros, cafés, and cabarets that, by the 1860s, the hour of 5 p.m. was called l’heure verte (“the green hour”). Absinthe was favoured by all social classes, from the wealthy bourgeoisie, to poor artists and ordinary working-class people. By the 1880s, mass production had caused the price of absinthe to drop sharply. By 1910, the French were drinking 36 million litres of absinthe per year, as compared to their annual consumption of almost 5 billion litres of wine.

The drink was banned in France in 1914.

Absinthe has been consumed in the Czech countries (then part of Austria-Hungary) since at least 1888, notably by Czech artists, some of whom had an affinity for Paris, frequenting Prague’s famous Café Slavia. Its wider appeal in Bohemia itself is uncertain, though it was sold in and around Prague.

In 1905, it was reported that Jean Lanfray, a Swiss farmer, murdered his family and attempted to take his own life after drinking absinthe. The fact that Lanfray was an alcoholic who had consumed considerable quantities of wine and brandy prior to drinking two glasses of absinthe was overlooked or ignored, therefore placing the blame for the murders solely on absinthe.

In May 2011, the French Absinthe Ban of 1915 was repealed following petitions by the Fédération Française des Spiritueux, who represent French distillers.

A water carafe is the most basic and original way to add water. As with other items, many have been found with brand names on them. The carafe is held above the glass and water is delicately added in a thin stream.

Fountains appeared in bars and bistros in the late 1800s as absinthe gained greater popularity. Most often it was a large glass globe on a tall metal stand that held between two and six spigots. It allowed a small party of drinkers to accurately prepare their absinthe all at once with a slow, thin stream of cold water but did not require the steady hand required by a carafe.

You can read more about the interesting history of Absinthe on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe. This is my entry for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

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46 thoughts on “Absinthe 1020598

  1. Nice image!

    Never tried it. Actually, I’ve never been anywhere, where I COULD have tried it, even if I’d wanted to. I would have been too scared anyway, because I’d only read about the hallucinogen effects.

  2. A perfect choice for a mash-up picture! I’m glad to see that I’m in good company of fellow absinthe consumers. It should probably alarm me that those mentioned are dead.

    • They’re dead, but they would have been dead even if they didn’t drink absinthe. Besides, most of the talented people this world has seen are dead and buried anyway, so we might as well enjoy our absinthe.

    • There’s more info on the different ways of enjoying absinthe in the Wikipedia article. I’ve only tried two of the methods: the one on the photo with ice and the one where they set fire to it.

  3. I can’t drink anything alcoholic, so for me all this is an interesting historical thing. I guess I’ll have to reassess Toulouse-Lautrec’s biographical data. Maybe he was just an extraordinary painter … and a regular old-fashioned lush.

    Sometimes, I really with I could drink … but hey, the world is full of drugs.

  4. Excellent composition. Fascinating post. The image raises the question ” How many bucks for a bottle of Absinthe?”.

    I first encountered reference to this beverage when I read W.C Morrow’s tale, “Over an Absinthe Bottle”, in a collection of horror & suspense stories. It always conjured up a sinister supernatural association from then on – the youthful imagination. 🙂

    Story is available online – Project Gutenberg’s The Ape, the Idiot & Other People, by W. C. Morrow

  5. Great, great post. And I enjoed a nice absinthe on ice/water while reading this…a perfect combination. Now off to follow the green nymph that has just shown up ~

  6. Sooo…absinthe is now legal again? I want to try that stuff. You changed themes? I like this one, especially like the line at the right dividing the sidebar from the stuff…

  7. That’s one drink that I really don’t like the taste of, still shame on the French for banning it. Imagine how many masterpieces can be attributed to its consumption 🙂

  8. My employers don’t allow us to drink absinthe. When we go to pub crawl in Rome, we can only drink the imitation absinthe.

      • I don’t exactly know. But the thing with my job is that we consist of Americans that get scattered in different parts of the world. People have gotten in trouble being drunk and stupid over regular alcohol, and more so with a drink like absinthe. It’s bad juju for us to be in trouble when in foreign countries.

        • Well, you can get in trouble when you’re drunk on wine or beers too, but I guess it makes sense to stay away from strong alcohol (but then you shouldn’t be allowed to drink things like whisky either..)

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