Cocktail Ingredient Glossary » Absinthe

Absinthe, affectionately known as the Green Fairy (La Fee Verte), is a high alcohol volume (usually 50-70%) licorice flavored herbal liqueur. Absinthe gets its nickname from its light green color and its humble beginnings as a miraculous cure-all. It was first created by Dr. Oridinaire as a medical tonic, and was not until after his death that it was first commercially distilled by Henry Louis Pernod. Absinthe derives its name from the Greek word apsinthion, which ironically means "undrinkable". It has a distinctive bitter taste caused by the wormwood used in the formulation. Wormwood is the herb that produces the psychoactive constituent thujone, which produces the "absinthe effects".

What are the effects of absinthe?

Back in the Belle Epoch period, absinthe was believed to act as an aphrodisiac and hallucinogen. It was also believed to be a creativity stimulator, and many artists and writers of the period were loyal absinthe drinkers. People usually report a sense of drunken clarity when drinking absinthe. In other words, the liberating effects of the alcohol are felt while the mind remains coherent. At higher intakes thujone can induce hallucinations, but not for everyone. Also, the absinthe must be ingested quickly or only the alcohol will be felt. However, don't get too excited, as most brands of absinthe on the market only have 10 mg of thujone due to regulations on thujone levels in the EU and other countries. The only brand having the original level of thujone is the King of Spirits Gold at 100 mg. It is produced in the Czech republic where there are no restrictions.

How do you drink Absinthe?

See our page regarding the Absinthe Ritual. Nowadays absinthe is also being used as a component ingredient in many mixed drink recipes.

Where can you get Absinthe?

Varieties of absinthe can be found in most liquor stores, however due to government regulated markets, most will not contain thujone.

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Brands and Variations of Absinthe



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