Absinthe. It is a drink with a high alcohol content, obtained from the distillation of several Mediterranean plants , mainly wormwood (absinthe), anise and fennel . Nicknamed the Fée Verte (The Green Fairy) or the Green Devil, it has a slight aniseed flavor. It is a very aromatic, dry drink that can be taken alone or with water as an aperitif, and is also suitable for mixing. Almost forgotten, today it is a fashionable drink in cities like London , Berlin or New York .
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- 1 Etymology of the name
- 2 History
- 3 Elaboration
- 4 Brands
- 5 Effects
- 1 Positives
- 2 Negatives
- 6 Sources
Etymology of the name
There are two species so known: the greater wormwood Artemisia absinthium, and the lesser wormwood, or pontic Artemisia pontica. The word derives from the Latin absinthium which in turn comes from the Greek αψινθιον (apsinthion) and which can be translated as ‘non-drinkable’. There are roots of the word linked to the Persian word spand or aspand and even to the variant esfand with which a bitter taste herb is named like that. Formerly this plant was burned as a sign of offering and this ritual can give a clue to its proto-Indo-European origins, since in Urdu the root * spend means “to carry out a ritual” or “to make offerings”. However, it can be said that none of the possible origins of the word absinthe is clear.
Absinthe has a very spectacular history. Henri Louis Pernod, who bought the prescription from the Swiss doctor Ordinaire, started the absinthe distillation in Switzerland in 1797 and then continued production in France . Absinthe became the most popular drink of the 19th century and famous artists such as Van Gogh , Manet and Picasso among many others contributed to make its popularity even greater. They argued that absinthe enhanced their creativity, as absinthe has a psychoactive component.
Absinthe is a highly controversial drink throughout its history, from its origins in Europe. The ignorance and lack of scientific instruments in the 19th century and the lack of control of alcoholism in Europe, attributed to absinthe the possibility of generating hallucinations, or causing dementia, reasons for which in some countries it was decided to ban. With time and scientific interest in analyzing absinthes from pre-prohibition, absinthe has been proven not to be harmful. Some countries have started to lift bans, setting limits on anethole and tujonas content mainly. Thujone has been proven to be present in traditional distilled absinthe at levels from 0 to 50 mg / l 6, which does not represent a health risk.
The only countries where absinthe production has never stopped are Spain and Portugal . These are the only countries where absinthe can be found today according to the traditional recipe of the 19th century.
There are two processes for its elaboration:
- a) Without distilling:for several days its components are macerated ( wormwood, anise , fennel , lemon balm , etc …) obtaining in the end a rather sour result.
- b) Distilling:It is included after the maceration prior to the distillation process. After graduating the liquid with waterand obtaining different results such as:
- Blue or white absinthe:immediately after the mentioned procedure, it is bottled. Typical of Swiss production.
- Greenabsinthe : adding different components (herbs that give absinthe this shade) to white absinthe. In France this elaboration becomes more important.
- Spanish:with a slightly more cloying French flavor given the addition of anise to it.
- Bohemia:Czech production where wormwood and alcohol are the main protagonists, displacing the rest of the ingredients.
- Homemade absinthe:typical of German production
Some of the most famous absinthe brands worldwide are:
- Hapsburg from Bulgaria
- Staroplzenecky from Czech Republic
- Black Absinthe of Spain ( Barcelona)
- Mari Mayans Collectors from Spain (Ibiza)
- Deva from Spain ( Barcelona)
- Pernod from France
- Spaintunnel .
Historically known as “the green fairy” for its attributed hallucinogenic effects, it also has certain positive effects on the body, such as facilitating digestion and controlling the menstrual cycle .
In 1850, alarm began to spread about the consequences of absently consumed absinthe. The distillation of the leaves and stems of wormwood causes beta-tuyones to be released, whose intoxication produces the syndrome called absintism, which is characterized by the corresponding addiction , hyperexcitability, seizures , hallucinations , deterioration of the nervous system , dementia and, finally, the death . The fact that the drink was associated with the bohemian life of the artists contributed to increase the fear of its pernicious effects.