In 1830, officers used to advise soldiers in Algeria who were not feeling well to add a few drops of Absinthe liqueur to the more-or-less pure water they were given to drink. But soldiers and officers alike preferred to increase the dose, and this beneficial liqueur also cured homesickness. And so abinthism was thus created under the African sun, and the medication became a source of inebriety.
But anti-drinking campaigns sprouted up nearly everywhere in Europe, and their main target was Absinthe.
Belgium banned it in 1906 and Switzerland followed suit in 1910. France simply levied a tax on it. But on January 7, 1915, Poincaré confirmed these various measures; on March 4, he extended them to various limitations that applied to bars, and eventually there was a total ban on Absinthe.
This liqueur is prepared from an infusion and essence of absinthe herbs (1,5 %), lemon balm and mint spirits, cane sugar and alcohol.
. Lemon balm
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthuim), with its fragrant gray leaves, was once used to add flavor to sauces and to make the famous liqueur known as “The Green Fairy”.
It was banned in 1915 because of the toxicity caused by the absinthe. However, although only part of the herb was toxic, it was extremely bitter. At the time, the toxicity was attributed to a substance known as thujone.
Today, Absente, a liqueur made from the absinthe herb, differs from its older sister in one important way : some active principles in the herbs (thujone, fenchone and pinocamphone) are included today, but in minute doses, in compliance with regulations.
This liqueur consists of alcohol, sugar, essence and infusion of mugwort, green anise spirit, essence of star anise (anethole), spirits of lemon balm and mint, and essence of wormwood. The mugwort infusion (Artemisia vulgaris) gives Absente its structure. The subtle flavors of anise, mint and spices from the spirits and essences give Absente its balance, finesse, freshness and its surprising ability to linger on the palate.
When drinking Absente, anything goes (well, almost anything) :
Absente can be poured over shaved ice or ice cubes.
Those who like strong sensations drink it straight up.
Those who prefer an unsweetened and bitter taste may simply add cold water to Absente.
Fans of tradition carefully carry out the time-honored practice of placing a sugar cube on the slotted absinthe spoon and balancing it over the glass. Then they slowly pour in water. This dissolves the sugar and the Absente turns an opalescent green.
Absente - Absente may also be flambéed.