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Absinthe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Absinthe (IPA English: [ˈæbsɪnθ] IPA French: [ap.sɛ̃t]) is a distilled, highly


alcoholic, anise-flavored spirit derived from herbs including the flowers and
leaves of the medicinal plant Artemisia absinthium, also called wormwood.
Although it is sometimes incorrectly called a liqueur, absinthe does not
contain added sugar and is therefore classified as a liquor or spirit.[1]

Absinthe is often referred to as la Fée Verte ("The Green Fairy") because of


its coloring — typically pale or emerald green, but sometimes clear. Due to
its high proof and concentration of oils, absintheurs (absinthe drinkers)
typically add three to five parts ice-cold water to a dose of absinthe, which
causes the drink to turn cloudy (called "louching"); often the water is used to
dissolve added sugar to decrease bitterness. This preparation is considered an
important part of the experience of drinking absinthe, so much so that it has
become ritualized, complete with special slotted absinthe spoons and other
accoutrements. Absinthe's flavor is similar to anise-flavored liqueurs, with a
light bitterness and greater complexity imparted by multiple herbs.
A reservoir glass filled with a
Absinthe originated in Switzerland as an elixir, but is better known for its naturally colored verte next to an
popularity in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among absinthe spoon.
Parisian artists and writers whose romantic associations with the drink still
linger in popular culture. In its heyday, the most popular brand of absinthe
worldwide was Pernod Fils. At the height of this popularity, absinthe was portrayed as a dangerously addictive,
psychoactive drug; the chemical thujone was blamed for most of its deleterious effects. By 1915 it was banned in a
number of European countries and the United States. Even though it was vilified, there is no evidence showing it to
be any more dangerous than ordinary alcohol although few modern medical studies have been conducted to test this.
A modern absinthe revival began in the 1990s, as countries in the European Union began to reauthorize its
manufacture and sale.

Contents
1 Etymology
2 Production
2.1 Hausgemacht absinthe
2.2 Absinthe kits
3 Preparation
4 Czech, or Bohemian, absinth
5 History
5.1 Ban
5.2 Modern revival
5.3 Cruise ship mystery
6 Controversy
7 Cultural impact
7.1 Historical
7.2 Modern

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8 Regulations
8.1 Australia and New Zealand
8.2 Canada
8.3 European Union
8.4 France
8.5 Switzerland
8.6 United States
9 References
10 External links

Etymology
The French word absinthe can refer either to the liquor or to the Look up absinthe in Wiktionary, the
actual wormwood plant (grande absinthe being Artemisia free dictionary.
absinthium, and petite absinthe being Artemisia pontica). The word
derives from the Latin absinthium, which is in turn a stylization of
the Greek αψινθιον (apsinthion). Some claim that the word means "undrinkable" in Greek, but it may instead be
linked to the Persian root spand or aspand, or the variant esfand, which may have been, rather, Peganum harmala, a
variety of rue, another famously bitter herb. That this particular plant was commonly burned as a protective offering
may suggest that its origins lie in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root *spend, meaning "to perform a ritual"
or "make an offering". Whether the word was a borrowing from Persian into Greek, or rather from a common
ancestor, is unclear.[2]

Absinth (without the "e") is a spelling variation of absinthe often seen in central Europe. Because so many
Bohemian-style products use it, many groups see it as synonymous with bohemian absinth, even though that is not
always the case.

Production
The main herbs used are grande
wormwood, florence fennel and green
anise, often called the "holy trinity."
Many other herbs may be used as well,
such as hyssop, melissa, star anise and
petite wormwood (Artemisia pontica
or Roman wormwood). Various
recipes also include angelica root,
Sweet Flag, dittany leaves, coriander,
veronica, juniper, nutmeg, and various
mountain herbs.

The simple maceration of wormwood


in alcohol without distillation
produces an extremely bitter drink, Anise, one of the three main herbs
used in production of absinthe
due to the presence of the Grande Wormwood, one of the three
water-soluble absinthine, one of the main herbs used in production of
absinthe
most bitter substances known.
Authentic recipes call for distillation
after a primary maceration and before

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the secondary or "coloring" maceration. The distillation of wormwood, anise, and Florence fennel first produces a
colorless distillate that leaves the alembic at around 82% alcohol. It can be left clear, called a Blanche or la Bleue
(used for bootleg Swiss absinthe), or the well-known green color of the beverage can be imparted either artificially
or with chlorophyll by steeping petite wormwood, hyssop, and melissa in the liquid. After this process, the resulting
product is reduced with water to the desired percentage of alcohol. Over time and exposure to light, the chlorophyll
breaks down, changing the colour from emerald green to yellow green to brown. Pre-ban and vintage absinthes are
often of a distinct amber color as a result of this process.

Nontraditional varieties are made by cold-mixing herbs, essences or oils in alcohol, with the distillation process
omitted. Often called "oil mixes", these types of absinthe are not necessarily bad, though they are generally
considered to be of lower quality than properly distilled absinthe and often carry a distinct bitter aftertaste.

Alcohol makes up the majority of the drink and its concentration is extremely high, between 45% and 89.9%,[3]
though there is no historical evidence that any commercial vintage absinthe was higher than 74%. Given the high
strength and low alcohol solubility of many of the herbal components, absinthe is usually not imbibed "straight" but
consumed after a fairly elaborate preparation ritual.

Historically, there were five grades of absinthe: ordinaire, demi-fine, fine, supérieure and Suisse (which does not
denote origin), in order of increasing alcoholic strength. Most absinthes contain between 60% and 75% alcohol. It is
said to improve materially with storage. In the late 19th century, cheap brands of absinthe were occasionally
adulterated by profiteers with copper, zinc, indigo plant, or other dyes to impart the green color, and with antimony
trichloride to produce or enhance the louche effect. It is also thought that the use of cheaper industrial alcohol and
poor distillation technique by the manufacturers of cheaper brands resulted in contamination with methanol, fusel
alcohol, and similar unwanted distillates. This addition of toxic chemicals is quite likely to have contributed to
absinthe's reputation as a hallucination-inducing or otherwise harmful beverage.

Hausgemacht absinthe

German for homemade (often abbreviated HG), also called clandestine, hausgemacht absinthe is home-distilled by
hobbyists and thus illegal in most countries. Mainly for personal use and not for sale, clandestine absinthe is
produced in small quantities allowing experienced distillers to select the best herbs and fine-tune each batch.
Clandestine production got a major boost after the ban of absinthe when small producers went underground,
especially in Switzerland. Although the Swiss produced both vertes and blanches before the ban, clear absinthe
(known as La Bleue) became popular as it was easier to hide. Though the Swiss ban was recently lifted, many
clandestine distillers have yet to become legal; the authorities believe high taxes on alcohol and the mystique of
being underground has kept many from seeking a license.[4] Those that have become legal often still use the
"clandestine" moniker on their products. HG absinthe should not be confused with absinthe kits.

Absinthe kits

There are numerous recipes for homemade absinthe floating around on the Internet, many of which revolve around
soaking or mixing a kit or store-bought herbs and wormwood extract with high-proof liquor such as vodka or
Everclear. Even though these do-it-yourself kits have gained in popularity, it is simply not possible to produce
absinthe without distillation. Absinthe distillation, like the production of any fine liquor, is a science and an art and
requires expertise and care to properly manage.

Besides being unpleasant to drink and a pale impression of authentic distilled absinthe, these homemade concoctions
can sometimes be poisonous. Many of these recipes call for the usage of liberal amounts of wormwood extract or
essence of wormwood in the hopes of increasing the believed psychoactive effects. Consuming essential oils will not
only fail to produce a high, but can be very dangerous. Wormwood extract can cause renal failure and death due to
excessive amounts of thujone, which in large quantities acts as a convulsive neurotoxin. Essential oil of wormwood
should never be consumed straight.

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Preparation
Traditionally, absinthe is poured into a glass over which a specially designed
slotted spoon is placed. A sugar cube is then deposited in the bowl of the
spoon. Ice-cold water is poured or dripped over the sugar until the drink is
diluted 3:1 to 5:1. During this process, the components that are not soluble
in water, mainly those from anise, fennel and star anise, come out of
solution and cloud the drink; the resulting milky opalescence is called the
louche (Fr. "opaque" or "shady", pronounced "loosh"). The addition of
water is important, causing the herbs to "blossom" and bringing out many of
the flavors originally overpowered by the anise. For most people, a good
quality absinthe should not require sugar, but it is added according to taste
and will also thicken the mouth-feel of the drink.

With increased popularity, the absinthe fountain, a large jar of ice water on a
base with spigots, came into use. It allowed a number of drinks to be
prepared at once, and with a hands-free drip patrons were able to socialize
Preparing absinthe the traditional while louching a glass.
way.
Although many bars served absinthe in standard glasses, a number of glasses
were specifically made for absinthe, having a dose line, bulge or bubble in
its lower portion to mark how much absinthe should be poured into it (often around 1 oz (30 ml)).

Czech, or Bohemian, absinth


Often called Bohemian-style, Czech-style, anise-free absinthe or just
absinth (without the "e"), Bohemian absinth is produced mainly in the
Czech Republic where it gets its Bohemian designation. It contains little
to no anise, fennel or other herbs normally found in the more traditional
absinthes produced in countries such as France and Switzerland, and can
be extremely bitter. Often the only similarities with its traditional
counterpart are the use of wormwood and a high alcohol content; for all
intents and purposes, it should be considered a completely different
product. In most cases, Bohemian-style absinths are not processed by
distillation, but are rather high-proof alcohol or vodka which has been
cold-mixed with herbal extracts and artificial coloring. Not all absinth "Absinthe Drinker" by Viktor Oliva
produced in the Czech Republic is in the Bohemian style, and there has
been a resurgence of traditional absinthe to compete better with the
growing world market.

Absinthe (with anise) has been consumed in Czech lands (then part of Austria-Hungary) since the turn of the 20th
century, notably by Czech artists, some of which had an affinity for France, frequenting Prague's Cafe Slavia.[5] Its
wider appeal is uncertain. Contemporary Czech producers claim absinth has been produced in the Czech Republic
since the 1920s, and that their brands use the same eighty-year-old recipes (i.e. in case of the Hills company, "98%
the same"), but there is no independent evidence to support these claims.[6] Since there are currently few legal
definitions for absinthe, producers have taken advantage of its romantic associations and psychoactive reputation to
market their products under a similar name. Many Bohemian-style producers heavily market thujone content,
exploiting the many myths and half-truths that surround thujone even though none of these types of absinth contain
enough thujone to cause any noticeable effect.

The Czech- or Bohemian-style absinth lacks many of the oils in absinthe that create the louche, and a modern ritual

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involving fire was created to take this into account. In this ritual, absinth is added to a glass and a sugar cube on a
spoon is placed over it. The sugar cube is soaked in absinth then lit on fire. The cube is then dropped into the absinth
setting it on fire, and water is added till the fire goes out, normally a 1:1 ratio. The crumbling sugar can provide a
minor simulation of the louche seen in traditional absinthe, and the lower water ratio enhances effects of the
high-strength alcohol.

It is sometimes claimed that this ritual is old and traditional; however, this is false. This method of preparing absinth
was in fact first observed by Czech manufactures in the late 1990s[7] and used as a marketing tool, but has since
been accepted by many as historical fact, largely because this method has filtered its way into several contemporary
movies. Amongst many of the more traditional absinthe enthusiasts, this method of preparing absinthe is looked
down upon, and it can negatively affect the flavor of traditional absinthe.[8]

History
The precise origin of absinthe is unclear. According to popular legend,
absinthe began as an all-purpose patent remedy created by Dr. Pierre
Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Couvet, Switzerland, around 1792 (the
exact date varies by account). Ordinaire's recipe was passed on to the Henriod
sisters of Couvet, who sold absinthe as a medicinal elixir. In fact, by other
accounts, the Henriod sisters may have already been making the elixir before
Ordinaire's arrival. In either case, one Major Dubied in turn acquired the
formula from the sisters and, in 1797, with his son Marcellin and son-in-law
Henry-Louis Pernod, opened the first absinthe distillery, Dubied Père et Fils,
in Couvet. In 1805 they built a second distillery in Pontarlier, France, under
the new company name Maison Pernod Fils.[9]

Absinthe's popularity grew steadily until the 1840s, when absinthe was given
to French troops as a fever preventative. When the troops returned home, they
brought their taste for absinthe with them, and it became popular at bars and
bistros.
A vintage Pernod Fils absinthe
By the 1860s, absinthe had become so popular that in most cafés and cabarets
advertisement.
that 5 p.m. signaled l'heure verte ("the green hour"). Still, it remained
expensive and was favored mainly by the bourgeoisie and eccentric bohemian
artists. By the 1880s, however, the price had dropped significantly, the market expanded, and absinthe soon became
the drink of France; by 1910 the French were consuming 36 million litres of absinthe per year.

Ban

Spurred by the temperance movement and winemakers' associations, absinthe was publicized in connection with
several violent crimes supposedly committed under the influence of the drink. This, combined with rising
hard-liquor consumption due to the wine shortage in France during the 1880s and 1890s, effectively labeled absinthe
a social menace. Its critics said that "Absinthe makes you crazy and criminal, provokes epilepsy and tuberculosis,
and has killed thousands of French people. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate
of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country." [10] Edgar Degas's 1876
painting L’Absinthe (Absinthe) (now at the Musée d'Orsay) epitomized the popular view of absinthe "addicts" as
sodden and benumbed; Émile Zola described their serious intoxication in his novel L'Assommoir.

Absinthe was banned as early as 1898 in the Congo Free State (later Belgian Congo).

The Lanfray murders were the last straw for absinthe. In 1905 it was reported that Jean Lanfray murdered his family

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and attempted to kill himself after drinking absinthe. The fact that he was an alcoholic who had drunk considerably
after the two glasses of absinthe in the morning was forgotten, and the murders were blamed solely on absinthe.[11]
A petition to ban absinthe in Switzerland was quickly signed by over 82,000 people.

Soon thereafter (in 1906), Belgium and Brazil banned the sale and redistribution of absinthe. In Switzerland the
prohibition of absinthe was even written into the constitution in 1907, following a popular initiative. The
Netherlands came next, banning absinthe in 1909, followed by the United States in 1912 and France in 1915.
Around the same time, Australia banned the liquor too. The prohibition of absinthe in France led to the growing
popularity of pastis and ouzo, anise-flavored liqueurs that do not use wormwood. Although Pernod moved their
absinthe production to Spain, where absinthe was still legal, slow sales eventually caused it to close down. In
Switzerland it drove absinthe underground. Evidence suggests small home clandestine distillers have been producing
absinthe since the ban, focusing on La Bleues as it was easier to hide a clear product. Many countries never banned
absinthe, which eventually led to its revival.

Modern revival

In the 1990s, an importer, BBH Spirits, realized that there was no UK law
prohibiting the sale of absinthe (as it was never banned there) other than the
standard regulations governing alcoholic beverages. Hill's Liquere, a Czech
Republic distillery founded in 1920, began manufacturing Hill's Absinth, a
Bohemian-style absinth, which sparked a modern resurgence in absinthe's
popularity.

It had also never been banned in Spain or Portugal, where it continues to be


made. Likewise, the former Spanish and Portuguese New World colonies,
An assortment of modern absinthe. especially Mexico, allow the sale of absinthe and it has retained popularity
through the years.

France never repealed its 1915 law, but in 1988 a law was passed to clarify that only beverages that do not comply
with European Union regulations with respect to thujone content, or beverages that call themselves "absinthe"
explicitly, fall under that law. This has resulted in the reemergence of French absinthes, now labeled spiritueux à
base de plantes d'absinthe ("wormwood-based spirits"). Interestingly, as the 1915 law regulates only the sale of
absinthe in France but not its production, many manufacturers also produce variants destined for export which are
plainly labeled "absinthe". La Fée Absinthe, launched in 2000, was the first brand of absinthe distilled and bottled in
France since the 1915 ban, initially mainly for export from France, but now one of over twenty French "spiritueux ...
d'absinthe" available in Paris and other French cities.

In December 2000, Australia reclassified it from a prohibited product to a restricted product, requiring a special
permit to import or sell absinthe, though it is still available in most bottle-shops.[12]

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In the Netherlands, this law was successfully challenged by the Amsterdam


wine-seller Menno Boorsma in July 2004, making absinthe once more legal.
Belgium, as part of an effort to simplify its laws, removed its absinthe law on
the first of January 2005, citing (as did the Dutch judge) European food
regulations as sufficient to render the law unnecessary (and indeed, in conflict
with the spirit of the Single European Market).

In Switzerland, the constitutional ban on absinthe was repealed in 2000


during a general overhaul of the national constitution, but the prohibition was
written into ordinary law instead. Later that law was also repealed, so from
March 2, 2005, absinthe is again legal in its country of origin, after nearly a
century of prohibition.

It is once again legal to produce and sell absinthe in practically every country
where alcohol is legal, the major exception being the United States. It is not, Collection of absinthe spoons. These
specialized spoons were used to hold
however, illegal to possess or consume absinthe in the United States.
the sugar cube over which ice-cold
water was poured to dilute the
Cruise ship mystery absinthe. Note the slot on the handle
that allows the spoon to rest on the
In January 2006, a widely published Associated Press wire service article brim of the glass.
echoed the press's sensationalistic absinthe scare of a century earlier. It was
reported that on the night he disappeared, George Allen Smith IV (a
Greenwich, Connecticut, man who in July 2005 vanished from aboard the Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas
while on his honeymoon cruise) and other passengers drank a bottle of absinthe. The story noted the modern revival
and included quotes from various sources suggesting that absinthe remains a serious and dangerous hallucinogenic
drug:

"In large amounts it would certainly make people see strange things and behave in a strange manner,"
said Jad Adams, author of the book, "Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle." "It gives
people different, unusual ideas which they wouldn't have had on their own accord because of its
stimulative effect on the mind."

Absinthe is banned in the United States because of harmful neurological effects caused by a toxic
chemical called thujone, said Michael Herndon, spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration.[13]

The story also noted: "Defenders of the drink say it is safe and its harmful effects a myth." Jad Adams and Ted
Breaux were interviewed on MSNBC about this issue. Ted Breaux had this to say:

One thing we know is that absinthe, old and new, does not contain a lot of thujone. And what we
know, from certain scientific studies, which have been published in the past year or so, is that, first of
all, thujone is not present in any absinthe in sufficient concentration to cause any type of deleterious
effects in humans.[14]

Controversy

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It was thought that excessive absinthe drinking led to effects which were
specifically worse than those associated with overindulgence in other forms
of alcohol—which is bound to have been true for some of the
less-scrupulously adulterated products, creating a condition called
absinthism. Undistilled wormwood essential oil contains a substance called
thujone, which is an epileptic and can cause renal failure in extremely high
doses, and the supposed ill effects of the drink were blamed on that
substance in 19th-century studies. Many of these studies were flawed, such
as a study by Dr. Magnan in 1869 that exposed a guinea pig to large doses
of pure wormwood oil vapor and another to alcohol vapors. The guinea pig
exposed to wormwood had seizures while the other did not. Based on this it
was concluded absinthe was more dangerous than alcohol. These studies
were further taken advantage of as the French word for wormwood is
"absinthe," and it was incorrectly stated that absinthe, the drink, had caused
these problems.[15]

Past reports estimated thujone levels in absinthe as high, possibly up to 350


mg/kg. More recent studies have shown that very little of the thujone present
in wormwood actually makes it into a properly distilled absinthe, even one
recreated using historical recipes and methods. Most proper absinthes, both
Edouard Manet, "The Absinthe vintage and modern, are naturally within the EU limits.[16] A recent French
Drinker."
distiller has had to add pure essential oil of wormwood to make a
"high-thujone" variant of his product. It can remain in higher amounts in oils
produced by other methods than distillation, or when wormwood is macerated and not distilled, especially when the
plant stems are used, where thujone content is the highest. Tests on mice show an LD50 of around 45 mg thujone
per kg of body weight,[17] much higher than what is contained in absinthe and the high amount of alcohol would kill
a person many times over before the thujone became a danger[17]. Although direct effects on humans are unknown,
many have consumed thujone in higher amounts than present in absinthe through non-controversial sources like
common sage and its oil, which can be up to 50% thujone [18]. Long term effects of low wormwood consumption in
humans is unknown as well.

The effects of absinthe have been described by artists as mind-opening and even hallucinogenic and by
prohibitionists as turning good people mad and desolate. Both are exaggerations. Sometimes called "secondary
effects", the most commonly reported experience is a "clear-headed" feeling of inebriation - a "lucid drunk", said to
be caused by the thujone. The placebo effect and individual reaction to the herbs make these secondary effects
subjective and minor compared to the psychoactive effects of alcohol.

A study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol[19] concluded that a high concentration of thujone in alcohol has
negative effects on attention performance. It slowed down reaction time, and subjects concentrated their attention in
the central field of vision. Medium doses did not produce an effect noticeably different from plain alcohol. The high
dose of thujone in this study was larger than what one can get from current beyond-EU-regulation "high thujone"
absinthe before becoming too drunk to notice, and while the effects of even this high dose were statistically
significant in a double blind test, the test subjects themselves could still not reliably identify which samples were the
ones containing thujone. As most people describe the effects of absinthe as a more lucid and aware drunk, this
suggests that thujone alone is not the cause of these effects. The deleterious effects of absinthe as well as its
hallucingenic properties are a persistent myth often repeated in modern books and scientific journals with no
evidence for either.

Cultural impact

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Main article: Absinthe in popular culture

The legacy of absinthe as a mysterious, addictive, and mind-altering drink


continues to this day. Absinthe has been seen or featured in fine art, movies,
video, music and literature. The modern absinthe revival has had an effect on
its portrayal. It is often shown as an unnaturally glowing green liquid which is
set on fire before drinking, even though traditionally neither is true.

Historical

Numerous artists and writers living in France during the late 19th and early
20th centuries were noted absinthe drinkers and featured absinthe in their
works. These include Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Guy de
Maupassant, Arthur Rimbaud and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Later authors
and artists would draw from this cultural well including Pablo Picasso, Oscar
Wilde and Ernest Hemingway.

Modern
L’Absinthe, by Edgar Degas.
The mystery and illicit quality surrounding the popular view of absinthe has
played into modern music, movies and television shows. These depictions
vary in their authenticity, often applying dramatic license to depict the drink as everything from aphrodisiac to
poison.

Regulations
Currently, most countries do not have a legal definition of absinthe (unlike, for example, Scotch whisky or cognac).
Therefore, manufacturers can label a product "absinthe" or "absinth", regardless of whether it matches the traditional
definition. Due to many countries never banning absinthe, not every country has regulations specifically governing
it.

Australia and New Zealand

Bitters can contain a maximum 35 mg/kg thujone, other alcoholic beverages can contain a maximum 10 mg/kg [20]
of thujone. In Australia import and sales requires a special permit.

Canada

In Canada, liquor laws are the domain of the provincial governments. British Columbia has no limits on thujone
content; Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec allow 10 mg/kg thujone, and all other provinces do not allow the
sale of absinthe containing thujone (although, in Saskatchewan, one can purchase any liquor available in the world
upon the purchase of a minimum of one case, usually 12 bottles x 750ml or 8 x 1L). The individual liquor boards
must approve each product before it may be sold on shelves, and currently, only Hill's Absinth, Elie-Arnaud Denoix,
Pernod and, in limited release, La Fée Absinthe are approved. Other brands may appear in the future.

European Union

The European Union permits a maximum thujone level of 10 mg/kg in alcoholic beverages with more than 25%
ABV, and 35 mg/kg in alcohol labeled as bitters.[21] Member countries regulate absinthe production within this
framework. Sale of absinthe is permitted in all EU countries unless they further regulate it.

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France

In addition to EU standards, products explicitly called "absinthe" cannot be


sold in France, although they can be produced for export. Absinthe is now
commonly labeled as spiritueux à base de plantes d'absinthe
("wormwood-based spirits"). France also regulates Fenchone, a chemical in
the herb fennel, to 5 mg/l.[22] This makes many brands of Swiss absinthe
illegal without reformatting.

Switzerland

To be legally sold, absinthe must be distilled and either uncolored or


naturally colored.

United States

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, "The importation of


Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain Artemisia absinthium
is prohibited."[23] This runs contrary to FDA regulations, which allow The end of the Green Fairy (1910):
Critical poster by Albert Gantner
Artemisia species in foods or beverages, but those that contain Artemisia
illustrating the absinthe ban in
species, white cedar, oak moss, tansy or Yarrow, must be thujone free.[24] Switzerland.
Other herbs that contain thujone have no restrictions. For example, sage and
sage oil (which can be almost 50% thujone[18]) are on the FDA's list of
substances generally recognized as safe.[25]

The prevailing consensus of interpretation of United States law and regulations among American absinthe
connoisseurs is that it is probably legal to purchase such a product for personal use in the U.S. It is illegal to sell
items meant for human consumption which contain thujone derived from Artemisia species. (This derives from an
Food and Drug Administration regulation, as opposed to a DEA regulation.) Customs regulations specifically forbid
the importation of "absinthe". Absinthe can be and occasionally is seized by United States Customs if it appears to
be for human consumption and can be seized inside the U.S. with a warrant.[26][27]

A faux-absinthe liquor called Absente, made with southern wormwood (Artemisia abrotanum) instead of regular
wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), is sold legally in the United States and does not contain thujone.

References
1. ^ "Traite de la Fabrication de Liqueurs et de la Distillation des Alcools" Duplais (1882 3rd Ed, Pg 249)
2. ^ Absinthe etymology (http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Arte_vul.html#absinthe) Retrieved 30-Mar-2006
3. ^ Wine and Spirit Hapsburg page (http://www.wineandspirit.com/absinthe.htm) . Retrieved 18-Mar-2006.
4. ^ Absinthe bootleggers refuse to go straight
(http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/swissinfo.html?siteSect=107&sid=6586791&cKey=1143621269000) . Swiss info.
Retrieved 11-may-2006.
5. ^ Cafe Slavia (http://www.reflex.cz/Clanek13219.html)
6. ^ Oxygénée's Absinthe FAQ VI (http://www.oxygenee.com/absintheFAQ6.html) . The Virtual Absinthe Museum.
Retrieved 5-Mar-2006.
7. ^ Origin of the fire ritual (http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=2880&st=0&p=100509&entry100509)
Alan Moss explains the origins of the Czech ritual at Feeverte.net Retrieved 11-May-2006
8. ^ The modern Czech preparation ritual (http://www.eabsinthe.com/drinking-bohemian-absinthe.htm) step by step images
showing the czech fire ritual Retrieved 31-Mar-2006
9. ^ "Condensed Absinthe History" (http://www.absinthebuyersguide.com/history.html) Retrieved 4-April-2006

10 of 12 07.08.2006 22:17
Absinthe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe

10. ^ Conrad III, Barnaby; (1988). Absinthe History in a Bottle. Chronicle books. ISBN 0-8118-1650-8 Pg. 116
11. ^ Conrad III, Barnaby; (1988). Absinthe History in a Bottle. Chronicle books. ISBN 0-8118-1650-8 Pg. 1-4
12. ^ Just add water (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/21/1066631424572.html) Sydney Morning Herald October
22, 2003. Retrieved 12-May-2006
13. ^ Christoffersen, John. "Banned liquor latest twist in cruise disappearance"
(http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/scn-sa-ct-cruise.1.23jan23,0,1307244.story) . Greenwich Time, 23-Jan-2006. and
"Banned liquor latest twist in cruise disappearance"
(http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2006/01/22/banned_liquor_latest_twist_in_cruise_disappearance/
. Boston Globe, 22-Jan-2006. Two slightly different edits of the same Associated Press wire service story. Retrieved
5-Mar-2006.
14. ^ "'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' for (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11007598/) 23 January" (transcript). MSNBC,
23-Jan-2006. Retrieved 5-Mar-2006.
15. ^ Conrad III, Barnaby; (1988). Absinthe History in a Bottle. Chronicle books. ISBN 0-8118-1650-8 Pg. 101
16. ^ Hutton, Ian. "Thujone: Separating Myth from Reality" (http://www.feeverte.net/thujone.html) and "Determination of
a-/ß-Thujone and Related Terpenes in Absinthe using Solid Phase Extraction and Gas Chromatography"
(http://www.emmert-analytik.de/DLR_100_9_S352-356.pdf) . Retrieved 5-Mar-2006.
17. ^ a b Thujone Gamma-Aminobutyric acid type A receptor modulation and metabolic detoxification.
(http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/8/3826) Hold K.,Sirisoma N., Ikeda T., Narahashi T. and Casida J. (2000).
Retrieved 22-May-2006.
18. ^ a b Essential oils from Dalmation Sage (http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/1999/47/i05/abs/jf981170m.html)
. J. Agric. Food Chem April 29, 1999 Retrieved 12-May-2006.
19. ^ "Absinthe: Attention Performance and Mood under the Influence of Thujone"
(http://alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/journal/september04/abstract.shtml) Journal of Studies on Alcohol, DETTLING, A. et al
Retrieved 21-May-2006.
20. ^ Standard 1.4.1 Contaminants and Natural Toxicants.
(http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/_srcfiles/fsc_1_4_1_Contaminants_v78.pdf) Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Retrieved 25-May-2006.
21. ^ "Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Thujone" (http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/fs/sc/scf/out162_en.pdf) ,
European Commission. SCF/CS/FLAV/FLAVOUR/23 ADD2 Final 6 February 2003.
22. ^ Décret n°88-1024 du 2 novembre 1988 (http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/texteconsolide/ADHJA.htm) Retrieved
5-Mar-2006.
23. ^ Prohibited and Restricted Items
(http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/prohibited_restricted.xml#Absinthe%20Alcohol) . US Customs and
Border Protection. Retrieved 5-Mar-2006.
24. ^ Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Chapter 1, Part 172-Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for
Human Consumption (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/FCF172.html) . US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved
5-Mar-2006.
25. ^ Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Chapter 1, Part 182-Substances Generally Recognized as Safe
(http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/fcf182.html) . US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 5-Mar-2006.
26. ^ US CODE: Title 19,1595. Searches and seizures
(http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode19/usc_sec_19_00001595----000-.html) . Retrieved 12-May-2006.
27. ^ Fée Verte Essential Absinthe FAQ (http://www.feeverte.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=2186) . "14. So will I get
arrested for possession of absinthe in the U.S.?" Retrieved 12-May-2006.

Höld, K.M., et al. "a-Thujone (the active component of absinthe): y-Aminobutyric acid type A receptor
modulation and metabolic detoxification" (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/8/3826) . Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences 97(April 11, 2000):3826-3831.
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the
public domain.

External links
Video explaining the preparation of absinthe
(http://www.infectiousvideos.com/index.php?p=showvid&sid=1296&a=playvid&cr=rpanel)
Oxygenee's Virtual Absinthe Museum (http://www.oxygenee.com/absintheMUSEUM.html) — A
comprehensive online museum of absinthe history, lore, art and antiques.

11 of 12 07.08.2006 22:17
Absinthe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe

La Fée Verte (http://www.feeverte.net) — The oldest and largest absinthe online-forum. Absinthe Buyers
Guide, with hundreds of user reviews. Reference library of absinthe-related articles.
The Wormwood Society (http://www.wormwoodsociety.org/) — An independent organization whose
self-declared mission is to help promote accurate, current information about absinthe; to aid in reforming
laws and regulations impacting absinthe in the US. It does not sell absinthe.
Absinthe.se (http://www.absinthe.se) — A comprehensive collection of Absinthe reviews and information.
Absinthe's second coming
(http://www.winespectator.com/Cigar/CA_Archives/CA_Show_Article/0,2322,220,00.html) — An April
2001 article in Cigar Aficionado about the first absinthe commercially produced in France since the 1915
ban.
Swiss face sobering future after legalizing absinthe
(http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20050323-0500-life-absinthe.html) — A March 2005
Reuters article about the legalization of absinthe in Switzerland.
The Mystery of the Green Menace (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.11/absinthe.html) — A
November 2005 WIRED Magazine article about a New Orleans man who has researched the chemical
content of Absinthe and now distills it in France.
The Return of the Green Faerie
(http://www.moderndrunkardmagazine.com/issues/11-02/11_02_absinthe.htm) — A wine and spirit journal
article about the history, ritual, and artistic cult of Absinthe.
Turner, Jack "Green Gold: The return of absinthe". The New Yorker (March 13, 2006):38-44.
Absinthe-Demystifying the Storied Drink (http://asap.ap.org/data/interactives/_lifestyles/absinthe/) — An
April 2006 Associated Press/asap Flash interactive, multi-media piece about absinthe.
Absinthism: A fictitious 19th century syndrome with present impact
(http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/1/1/14) Padosch, S.A., Lachenmeier, D.W., and Kroener,
L.U. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2006, 1:14.

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Categories: 1911 Britannica | Absinthe

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