Absinthe Study Session 4 – Absinthe and its legalization

The first country, which banned Absinthe was Switzerland  in the year 1910.  The US followed in 1912 (for “protective” measures), France decided to give death to the Green Fairy  in 1915 and Germany followed in 1923. The only countries, which never banned Absinthe were Spain and the UK.

It took until the late 1980s for Absinthe to begin to be legally accepted once again. In 1988, the French government passed a decree based on World Health Organization protocols that effectively relegagilzed the Green Fairy, by defining the limit of the chemicals that were thought to be dangerous – naturally found in wormwood (thujon), fennel (fenchone) and hyssop. Nevertheless the new hype around Absinthe started some years later, approx. in 2000 when movies like Moulin Rouge featured the drink of godness which increased the awareness and interest level for the Green Fairy!

The legalization of Absinthe in the US took until 2007. It was the result of many petitions send to the government by Swiss and American interest groups asking for an explanation of the legality of Absinthe prohibition. Nowadays the distribution and manufacture of Absinthe is once again legal, although some limits regarding the thujon level have to be respected.

Absinthe Study Session 3 – Absinthe´s Green Color

The Green Fairy is green. But how does the green color come into the Absinthe?

The color of Absinthe results out of the maceration of various herbs, which are added to the colorless spirit after distillation. This means after distillation Absinthe is not green, it is a clear but flavorful distillate. When no herbs are added for maceration after this primary distillation you will have a  “Blanche” or “Bleue” Absinthe.

A Verte – a green Absinthe – goes through a second process. Additional herbs are infused and the chlorophyll gives the Fairy it´s alluring green color. Besides the coloration, the herbs enhance the flavor profile.

ALANDIA Absinthe Session 2 – The big burning at the Pernod Factory

Pernod had on of its biggest distilleries in Pontarlier, France, next to the river Doubs. Daily production was up to 125,000 liters of Absinthe per day in 1896. A notable disaster occured on a Sunday, August 11, 1901. Mr. Borel, the plant manager was away the day a ferocious thunderstorm broke over the town. Lightning hit the central dome of the plant and ran through the metal framework. The electrical charge reached the tanks full of alcohol and set the whole plant into fire! Inside the factory bottles melted or exploded with the heat.

ALANDIA Absinthe Session 1 – Absinthe and Sugar

Historically Absinthe was drank with sugar. Pernod and other traditional Absinthe brands promoted the sugar ritual in their advertisings. The intent of using sugar was not to mask the bitterness of Absinthe, moreover the use of sugar reflects the preference for sweetness during the 19th century.

Sugar was still something special and luxurious. Absinthe was as well drank with other sweeteners such as anisette or Orgeat, a French almond syrup.

The sugar cube was invented by Mr. Christian Rad in 1841. Before that, sugar was sold in blocks. As Mrs. Rads cut her hand badly by trying to slice a block, her husband had the idea to sell sugar „precutted“; In Dacice in the Czech Republic, the hometown of Mr. Rad, the sugar cube monumental is a touristic attraction.

In 1870 the German Eugen Langen patented an efficient method of producing sugar cubes commercially and the success story of the „cube“ began. Drinking Absinthe with sugar is nothing „unprofessional or female“, every Absinthe should be drank with and without sugar in order to fully experience its taste and potential. Often the sweetness helps to taste the different herbal notes.

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