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History of Absinthe

Uploaded by apollo_crash on Jan 12, 2006

Absinthe, also known as the green fairy, has a romantic history like no other drink (Conrad, 1953). From humble beginnings as a “cure for all” to its height of popularity amidst the Parisian café scene of the late 1800’s, right through to its demise in the early 1900’s. In this essay I will outline the drinks history, from its origins to its spread, illustrate how absinthe was consumed and its taste, its constituents and controversial properties. Absinthe influenced many an almighty mind and had its own place in French Bohemian culture. I will outline its influence and demise, and finish with the small revival of the “Absintheur” in the last ten years.

According to legend the inventor of the drink was Dr. Pierre Ordinaire (Conrad, 1953), whom in 1872 produced the first ever, commercial bottle of Absinthe as a remedy. Claiming the drink was good for dysentery, epilepsy, gout, kidney stones, colic, headaches and worms. A gentleman named Major Dubied saw its potential as an aperitif rather than a herbal tonic and purchased the recipe from two sisters named Henriod beginning production of the recipe as an aperitif (Conrad, 1953). His nephew, Henri-Louis Pernod set up the Pernod Fils Absinthe Company in 1805 and this is where Absinthe began to be produced on a large commercial scale. The company grew from strength to strength and by 1850 was producing 20,000 litres per day (Nelson, 2002).

The popularity of Absinthe spread with French Troops returning from Algeria in 1844 (Baker, 2003) they had taken with them absinthe and mixed it with wine or water as a remedy and boredom killer, also known as Absinthe soup. Returning to France they brought with them a taste for Absinthe and it became a hit in the cafes of Paris. During the reign of Napoleon, Absinthe accounted for 90% of all the aperitifs consumed in France (Crowley, 1994). 5pm became know as l’Heure Verte – the Green Hour and Happy Hour today is a remnant of this.

Absinthe is traditionally consumed by placing a sugar cube on a slotted spoon and trickling water on to the cube letting it dissolve into the Absinthe, typically it is five parts water to one part Absinthe. This causes the green liquor to “Louche” and become opalescent (Crowley, 1994). This became somewhat of a classic ritual for “Absintheurs” and...

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Uploaded by:   apollo_crash

Date:   01/12/2006

Category:   Drugs And Alcohol

Length:   6 pages (1,327 words)

Views:   2499

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