ABSINTHE: A BRIEF HISTORY
From light to shade ... and from shadow to light!
The history of absinthe is as obscure as the legendary havoc it wrought! Indeed, it’s hard to tell whether its father (or mother) was a Swiss quack, Madame Henriod, or Frenchman Pierre Ordinaire, some time around the end of the sixteenth century.
Curioser and curioser, the ancient Egyptians were already drinking it some six hundred years before Christ!
From 1850 onwards, it was enjoyed by the Parisian bourgeoisie, its praises sung by the likes of Zola,
Degas or Manet, and gradually extended its reach so that by 1900 it was the most widely drunk aperitif in France, with some 90% of market share.
Accused of causing extreme alcohol intoxication, and targeted by various temperance leagues, absinthe disappeared following prohibition – in 1910 in Switzerland, and in 1915 in France. It could no longer be produced
Prohibition was lifted in Switzerland in 2005, and absinthe can now be legally distilled and enjoyed again.
Edgar Degas – Dans un Café (1875-1876)
Misconceptions, myths and legends!
It drives crazy!
False! strong> At the beginning of the 20th century, the average consumption was 12 glasses of absinthe a day. So alcoholism is responsible for the ills attributed to absinthe! No ingredient causing madness has ever been discovered in absinthe.
False! strong> It’s back in Switzerland since 2005 and almost everywhere in the world (except in Morocco!).
False! strong> Sorry for those who believe, but absinthe has never caused hallucinations …
We removed the molecule!
False! strong> Very popular in France, this unfounded assertion would turn us in very talented chemists! Real absinthes are distilled and colored (for the Green) with plants and are produced according to the same uses and principles as in the 19th century. Thujone, the active ingredient of the absinthe plant, has always been present, yesterday as today.
Burn the sugar!
Pweerk! strong> This is a Czech nightclub invention in the early 2000s, and the taste of a bad caramel will not bring anything to your absinthe.
It's so goooood!
True! strong> An absinthe made with alcohol, water, plants and a lot of love is very very good!