Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I Wanna Hug The Green Fairy!~

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Absinthe is a distilled, highly alcoholic, anise-flavored spirit derived from herbs including the flowers and leaves of the medicinal plant Artemisia absinthium, also called grand wormwood. Although it is sometimes mistakenly called a liqueur, absinthe is not bottled with added sugar and is, therefore, classified as a liquor or spirit.


Absinthe is typically green (either naturally or with added color) and is often referred to as la Fée Verte ('The Green Fairy'). Because of its high proof and concentration of oils, absintheurs (absinthe drinkers) typically add 3-5 parts ice-cold water to 1 part absinthe which causes the drink to cloud, called 'louching.' Often the water is used to dissolve added sugar to add sweetness. This procedure 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 other anise-flavored drinks, with a light bitterness and added complexity imparted by multiple herbs.


Absinthe originated in Switzerland as an elixir/tincture, used in a similar capacity as patent medicines would be used later in the United States. However, it is better known for its popularity in late 19th and early 20th century France, particularly among and writers whose romantic Parisian artists 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, no evidence shows it to be any more dangerous or psychoactive than ordinary alcohol. A modern absinthe revival began in the 1990s, as countries in the European Union
began to reauthorize its manufacture and sale.

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