Of absinthe, one early temperance critic wrote:
"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."
"Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder." - Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde - 1, stuffy critic - 0
Absinthe is mistakenly labeled as a liqueur, it is not distilled with added sugar which makes it a spirit. It gets its typical green color from the chlorophyll from the various plants and herbs - including wormwood, the vilified, so called "hallucinagenic" plant- that are used in the distillation process. Although the exact origins of absinthe are a little hazy, it is commonly attributed to a French doctor living in Switzerland named Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. He originally promoted it as a cure for stomach ailments. The wormwood recipe eventually went through various hands, through various generations until it ended up in with Henry-Louis Pernod, who eventually opened the first absinthe distillery.
Absinthe's popularity grew in the late 1800's; so much so that in french cafes and bistros, 5pm was known as l'heure verte or "the green hour." Aficionados of the drink included, Vincent Van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Arthur Rimbaud, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Later artists and writers would enjoy it as well, including Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemingway. Aleister Crowley
However, in the early 1900-1920's absinthe began to be associated with violent behavior and addiction...a fact that had little to do with the wormwood content in absinthe, but more with the alcohol content when not distilled properly with water. Spurred by the temperance movement, absinthe was banned in most countries.
After almost 80 years of being banned, absinthe made a resurgence in the 1990's as European countries lifted the ban as it became apparent that little to no evidence was linked to the drink being hallucinogenic or dangerous. In 2007, the United States lifted the ban as well. USA! USA!
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