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Absinthe: The Topic


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#1 Lord Michael Lewis

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Posted 16 February 2002 - 09:58 AM

I have a bottle of genuine Absinthe from Barçelona that is languishing along with a Thai monkey penis eau-de-vie and other tipples with animals in them in my Strange Beverages from around the World cupboard.
My questions are; is it safe and how do I drink it? Will it get me high?

#2 Jinmyo

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Posted 16 February 2002 - 10:05 AM

Consuming more than a "medicinal" dose leads to head-aches, vomiting involuntary evacuation of the bowels, foaming at the mouth and other side effects.

The psychoactive ingredient is thujone, which is structurally similiar to THC.

Good luck, LML.
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#3 yvonne johnson

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Posted 16 February 2002 - 12:02 PM

There may be a lot of twaddle written about absinthe. One night a friend produced a labelless bottle, and said the liquid was the genuine article. A shot with some water didn't produce any mental changes in me. I was kind of disappointed.

I don't know how authoritative this web site is, but has lots of info.
http://www.sepulchri...e/absinthe.html

#4 Wilfrid

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 09:43 AM

Just because a bottle has the word "absinthe" on the label, doesn't mean it really does contain thujone/wormwood.  It's illegal in a lot of countries - not sure about Spain.

Listen, you can have mental changes and vomit with regular everyday Pernod.  Why go the extra mile?

#5 stellabella

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Posted 19 February 2002 - 11:29 AM

absinthe drinking seems a bit trendy to me, esp since people are often forthright about their desire to "get high."  it's the search for something new and different, also "cool."

everything i have read says that even if you get your hands on real absinthe, you're still more likely to get drunk than "high."  the pleasant dreamy feeling lasts 20-30 minutes, but then if you keep drinking, you're smashed.  and the interaction of the herbs, of which the wormwood is just one, may cause not very well understood changes in brain chemistry.

my friend used to make it and now orders it from spain or france.  he drinks one or two glasses.  he really likes it.  i don't.  it does have a distinctive flavor, tho very similar to pernod. i am not a licorice liqueur drinker, but if you like that sort of thing, hey..

#6 Damian

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Posted 21 February 2002 - 04:29 PM

I had some absinthe the other night after several Grey Goose martinis (extra extra dry with extra olives BTW).  A friend of mine had the bottle and claimed it was made with "synthetic wormwood"  which he claimed was not yet illegal.  Whatever it was, I couldn't feel my face after one glass.  Granted we were pretty far along already, but that stuff was bizarre.  Completely high off of it, couldn't get up by myself and couldn't walk too well once dragged to my feet.  No hallucinations or anything, but insane nonetheless.  Anyway, that's my two cents.

#7 A Balic

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Posted 22 February 2002 - 08:27 AM

On my birthday I was trying to kill the pain as fast as possible, to this end I conceived a desire to have an Absinthe Martini. I made it up on the spot (two measures gin, one measure Absinthe, marschino cherry garnish), when I ordered it the bar staff said "its illegal to mix absinthe and gin", I complained and explained that their absinthe was unlikely to do anything to me that several gins wouldn't. They stuck to the line, but said I could by the two alcohols seperately and mix them myself. Which I did, numerous times. Ended up quite drunk, not stoned though darn it.

#8 fresh_a

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 11:56 AM

Being seriously interested in both food and 19th century French symbolist poetry, absinthe has long fascinated me... I've read pretty much everything I can get my hands on concerning this subject, and have even tasted the stuff...I know it's virtually illegal in many countries, but wonder what you all think.
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#9 fresh_a

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 12:26 PM

Most are not nearly close to the real thing. The high concentration of thujone and alcohol makes absinthe a dangerously potent drink. I hear that in the south of France the real thing exists, and I know that the drink is still produced legally in France, but only for export...
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#10 Adam Balic

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 12:31 PM

Pernod was originally a Absinthe producer. After it was banned in France they set up the production of Absinthe and Pastis (=pastiche "copy, replica"), the Pernod of today, in Spain. Absinthe went to te countries were it was banned, Pernod Pastis to were it was banned. Eventually, Pernod stopped Absinthe production. It was never formally banned in the UK, so you can buy Absinthe here (although mostly it is green dyed ETOH). I have a poster (copy) of a Pernod advert. for one of the early Pastis. It has a picture of a green faery and the phrase (in French) "Bring alive the Green Faery".

At an egullet dinner in London I brought alone some home made wormwood liquor (made by a great aunt in Croatia), no real ill effects, except that running around squealing in an empty meat market at 2 am in the morning. :unsure:

#11 menton1

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 12:47 PM

On our trips to France, my wife loves to find and collect old Absinthe spoons. We noticed in the past 3 years Absinthe is available again in the liquor stores and hypermarchés. One café owner claims that it is not the same, but others say it has the wormwood, which is the supposed bad stuff in Absinthe. According to this extensive Absinthe web site, it is again widely available in France and all over Europe.

Absinthe info

The spoons are quite beautiful, however, and there are even some great new ones with fabulous designs. A little too shiny, though.

Next trip in the spring I vow to try some of the stuff, and perhaps bring back a bottle!

#12 fresh_a

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 12:58 PM

A quick read of the Fee Verte website does NOT tell you absinthe is available again in France. It is available in a few european countries like Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic, also in some former French island colonies... it has been banned in France since the early 20th century. There are many anise-flavored drinks the French have as aperitifs, and some claiming to be similar to absinthe...which are basically pastis, with no wormwood content whatsoever...
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#13 menton1

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:03 PM

Well, Fresh A, if you go to that site, Buyers Guide section, click on "IV" and scroll down to France, you will see La Fée, New Pernod, Francois Guy, and Un Emile, all available in France. I have personally seen them in the hypermarchés. It is called Absinthe, but the key as to whether it is the same stuff that was banned is up for discussion.

#14 fresh_a

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:07 PM

Anything for sale IN France is NOT absinthe... only anise-flavored drinks trying to cash in on another name and legend... I live in France, and go to the supermarkets every day and see this stuff on the counters. Absinthe is ILLEGAL in France, in any form, and has been for decades. Believe me. Some websites will try to sell you absinthe, but inform you very clearly that, although you may order the stuff, that as it is against the law in certain countries, it may be ceased by customs.

Edited by fresh_a, 28 February 2003 - 01:09 PM.

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#15 KatieLoeb

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:17 PM

I have a bottle of this at home that I purchased in Bratislava two years ago. I'm still afraid to taste it! :wacko: I don't know what I was thinking when I bought it, but I guess the idea of smuggling back the "forbidden drink" was too much for me to resist. I smelled it and it was pretty scary. A braver friend of mine tried a tiny bit and said it made Robitussin taste like the "good stuff"! :raz:

I'd love to find a set of antique absinthe spoons. I guess if one is going to do this properly, you have to have the proper acoutrements. Now, if only I could find that Victorian Opium pipe... :laugh:

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#16 fresh_a

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:18 PM

La Fee Verte and the other stuff is about half the original strength in alcohol (normally 45%) and has minimal and sometimes no wormwood/thujone content.
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#17 Jaymes

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:38 PM

I've never heard that just a few drinks of Absinthe can cause one to go all over loopy.

But rather, that repeated exposure over years and years, will eventually pickle your brain.

Causing you to go mad.

Although in a terribly exotic, romantic and creative way.

#18 jackal10

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 01:39 PM

I have a bottle of Czech Sebor Absinthe.
Sebor Absinth website
Widely distributed and available online.

Personally I think it overrated, but a slug of pastis improves aniseed flavoured dishes like anything with fennel. Even better if you omit the fennel.

Mad? me?

Edited by jackal10, 28 February 2003 - 01:41 PM.


#19 Steve Martin

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 03:10 PM

Available in the UK from my favourite wine merchant.

There are some details here Absinthe

I haven't tried it though.

#20 Schielke

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 06:17 PM

If you are interested in making absinthe, you might want to check out some kits that offer the essense of it that you mix with neutral spirits. The essense purportedly contains wormwood and the like.

This site is a good example of the process.


Also, they maintain that the French wine industry created the myth that wormwood made you nuts because absinthe was so delicious that it endangered the industry. They created the rumor to discredit the drink...hmmm.

Anybody know of any truth to that or is it a load of hooey?
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#21 cigalechanta

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 12:01 PM

It is legal in Spain not again legal in France. There is a pastis available called absenthe but no wormwood is in it that is why it's sold. I got a hangover but no heavy headache. Just couldn't remember if I was arthur or martha..lol
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#22 tan319

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 04:42 PM

Just because a bottle has the word "absinthe" on the label, doesn't mean it really does contain thujone/wormwood.  It's illegal in a lot of countries - not sure about Spain.

Listen, you can have mental changes and vomit with regular everyday Pernod.  Why go the extra mile?

I first has Absinthe in France. Someone bought a bottle in San Sebastian and brought it back to a town we were in called Leon, near Dax, in the SW of France. This was in 1996. It was interesting. Just had an alcohol effect.
The next time I had it was in NYC. Someone gave me a bottle of it that was coming from an (bootleg?!) operation in Boston or New England somewhere. It seemed like it was a higher proof and left an unpleasant feeling (and aftertaste) the next day, no matter how little you drank.
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#23 alacarte

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 11:30 AM

I had fake absinthe once, at a culinary historians of NY meeting. Alexandra Leaf gave a lecture on her book about Van Gogh's last days at the Auberge.

She served foods that Van Gogh might have eaten -- baguettes and camembert; a wonderful apple cake; a carrot soup that included butter as the main ingredient; lots of wine; and the fake absinthe. We were given sugar cubes to sip the drink through. I almost couldn't concentrate on the lecture...was too busy watching my green-glowing drink -- hypnotic!

#24 J_Ozzy

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Posted 11 June 2003 - 04:23 PM

Hello all,
First post for me, although I've been lurking around on and off for a while

The whole "crazy level of thujone" argument in absinthe is overblown.
The only type of absinthe that has significantly elevated levels is the bootleg variety,
the "real" La Bleue or the homebrew kits off the internet.

Classic (pre-ban) absinthe that has been tested (Original Pernod) show lower levels
of thujone than the stuff that's legally produced today under EC guidelines.

There are a few operations shipping absinthe to North America,
such as Liqueurs de France

That's where I plan to order from, when I get around to it :smile:

Jeff O.

#25 mickblueeyes

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Posted 21 June 2003 - 07:28 AM

First of all, there has been no scientific document ever produced that has indicated that drinking Absinthe would cause anything other than a severe hangover. In the coffee houses and salons of France in the 1800's there was a practice of diluting Absinthe with Laudanum (liquid opium), which, surprise, surprise, would cause hallucinations. Absinthe does nothing of the sort.

I frequently drink Absinthe and have never hallucinated, been "high" or suffered any medical reprecussions. The levels of Thujone (the "active" ingredient) are so low that you would be forced to consume an entire bottle to get "high". And since most, if not all, commercially prepared Absinthe is above 55% abv, a non-alcoholic would probably die from alcohol poisoning long before finishing the bottle.

There is nothing dangerous about Absinthe, never has been and never will be. Yet how many people know someone who claims to have been in "The Twilight Zone" caught in the embrace of La Fee Verte for days on end only to awake in a strange place? They are liars, plain and simple. It is an urban legend akin to "cuban cigars will make you vomit, they are so strong" that is perpetuated in the States. Anyone who has smoked a Hoyo Double Corona knows that Cuban cigars can be mild, and anyone who has drunk Absinthe knows that it tastes like licorice and causes nothing but drunkeness.

#26 Blondie

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Posted 21 June 2003 - 09:08 AM

This article from Maxim recounts an absinthe tasting from a few years back, including the proper way to drink it. My cousin was one of the tasters. I’ll ask him to fill me in on his personal impressions the next time I talk to him :smile:
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#27 fresh_a

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Posted 22 June 2003 - 03:12 AM

Have you even tasted it? I've done a great deal of research on absinthe, and just wanted to counteract the position of some former posters who said it only had an alcohol kick. Not that I'm contre, concerning modern-day absinthe...

I think during that part of the 19th century, there seemed to be some sort of paranoid, prohibition scare (like the American prohibition), and I don't believe that absinthe was as bad as it was purported.

Of course drinking pure wormwood will make you sick or kill you, but wormwood concentrate is NOT absinthe.

And I'd be willing to bet, that out of the 10's of million of absinthe drinkers in the late 19th century, only a handfull of people died and went mad...
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#28 fresh_a

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 08:43 AM

I believe there is a lot of paranoia and many misconceptions about this legendary drink. It seems to drive people up onto their soapboxes to make proclamations that they don't necessarily back up with actual fact. With such a heady myth, will people ever agree?
Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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#29 DrinkBoy

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 08:07 AM

On my trip back from Barcelona, I ended up picking up 4 different brands of Absinthe from the duty free shops. In Spain I picked up:

"Chateau Saint Ferran"
http://www.absintheb...aintferran.html

"Mari Mayans"
http://www.absintheb...marimayans.html

and "Pere Kermann's"
http://www.liquors.m...b/dept_151.html

and in London I picked up three bottles of "Sabor"
http://www.absintheb....com/sebor.html
(for gifts, I've still got several bottles at home)

Of these four, I would specifically -not- recommend the Pere Kermann's. It was head and shoulders the worst of the lot. The others all fall within the same general level of quality. The Sabor at 55% abv was the gentlest of the lot, but both the Ferran (60% abv) and Mari (70% abv) had more anis flavor, which I preferred.

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#30 mickblueeyes

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Posted 04 July 2003 - 11:03 AM

I personally like the Serpis Red! Really nice herbal and anis flavor with a superb louche.