Are you ready to 'Dance with the Green Fairy'?
I have to admit, I didn't.
Oh, I'd seen the paintings.
I knew about 'the absinthe drinkers'; those degenerate artists who sat around the cafes in Paris, tippling some green concoction that inspired them to new heights of creativity.
I knew it had been banned.
That's the sum of my knowledge… Very little actually.
Then I received an email, asking me to review a site selling absinthe: Buy Absinthe.
You mean, someone's actually making it? And they're not going to end up in some obscure French prison chained to a wall?
Caught my interest. Anything a wee bit on the, um, marginal side of 'The Powers That Be' always catches my interest. I was a Viet Nam war protester. I've been know to mail Cuban cigars to friends in the U.S.
Back to the absinthe.
Apparently it became popular in France after the phylloxera plague seriously decimated wine production. One must have something to sip in the cafes, after all. It's ban was at the instigation of a French General who thought his troops were enjoying it rather too much. The idea was picked up by the Prohibition and Christian Temperance movements, (Rah!) seconded by the vintners who had a new crop of grapes to sell, and the rest, as they say, is history.
With a little more research, I discovered that thujone, the plant derivative found in wormwood that was long thought to be the cause of the 'effects' of absinthe is also found in sage and tarragon, and has been used for thousands of years in various medicinal treatments…. Including that old staple of the cold season Vicks Vap-O-Rub. (That bit I found elsewhere…. can't stop myself… must have more info…)
I also discovered that the 'effect' of absinthe, if there was one, was more readily attributed to the fact that it's rather high in alcohol…
Buy Absinthe offers a wide range of high quality absinthes for sale as well as the paraphernalia (I love that word… brings back memories…) used to recreate the traditional 'absinthe experience'. They ship everything worldwide (Yes, even to the U.S.) See How to Buy Absinthe for details.
I had no idea there was a ritual to drinking absinthe. From my little previous knowledge (and the old Temperance Union song) I had visions of Picasso and Wilde, both fans of the beverage, lying in a gutter with a siphon.
There are special glasses and, most particularly, spoons used to drink absinthe properly. Buy Absinthe has several of the classic items for sale as well as the history and descriptions for use. They give a brief history and production details of each absinthe they offer; from France, Switzerland and Spain (which never halted legal production) as well as recipes for other drinks and details for traditional ritual.
If want to Read more about Buy Absinthe they even have a blog!
Now, who's up for dancing with the Green Fairy?