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All about absinthe
What is absinthe?
If giants of the literature such as Oscar Wilde and Charles Baudelaire chose to celebrate absinthe in their writings, there must be something special about this spirit. The green color in one variety gives it the nickname "green fairy."
Distillers make it in a similar way as gin and other liquors, by mixing a grape or grain spirit with botanicals such as green anise and sweet fennel, giving it a faint licorice flavor. There are two types of absinthe: blanche and vert. The vert variant undergoes an additional steeping process with various herbs, creating the characteristic bright green hue. To make the blanche variant, which has a more delicate flavor and a clear appearance, producers skip the steeping process.
The story of absinthe
In the 18th century, French doctor Pierre Ordinaire made the first "prototype" of green absinthe as a medicinal remedy. Soon after, Henri-Louis Pernod bought the recipe and opened the first distillery dedicated to the green fairy in Switzerland.
In the mid-19th century, this liquor gained international popularity. French soldiers drank absinthe to prevent malaria, and they liked it so much that they wanted to bring it home after the war. Meanwhile, distillers started to export the green fairy from Switzerland and France to Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Around the same time, people started to think that this delicious green liquor had hallucinogenic properties. Science has never backed up this popular belief, but many countries banned the spirit until the 1990s.