This article first appeared in the Coloradoan newspaper, which took a tomahawk to it and ruined it.
You won’t like absinthe if you don’t like black licorice.
Absinthe — mint-green star in a constellation of multicolored bottles, over-proofed, over-hyped, overrated, mythologized, mystified and then demystified — won’t, all reports to the contrary notwithstanding, make you hallucinate.
It’s the sweet fennel and green anise that give absinthe its unmistakable licorice flavor.
In answer to your next question, the ban was lifted nearly a decade ago.
Was absinthe invented by hipsters for hipsters?
No. But you’ll be excused for thinking so.
The word itself comes from one of the many botanicals of which it’s composed: Artemisia Absinthium, which means “grand wormwood” — an herbaceous perennial with slender, silvery-green leaves that’s been used medicinally since at least 1500 BC, beginning with the Ancient Egyptians.
The standard story of absinthe’s modern-day manifestation is that it was concocted (circa 1792) by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor who practiced in Switzerland, and who later passed his recipe along to certain sisters named Henriod.
In fact, though, some say that Madame Henriod is the actual originator of absinthe: a confection she made from plants gathered in the Swiss mountains around her home — this according to one Jessyka Birchard, brand director of Pernod Absinthe. This elixir, says Birchard, was later tinkered with by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, who marketed it as medicinal.
An ambitious entrepreneur called Major Dubied came across the absinthe recipe and, after seeing the potential to brand it as a kind of nostrum with vast medicinal properties, partnered with his son-in-law, Henri-Louis Pernod, to set up the first absinthe distillery. This was in Switzerland, in 1797.
Thus was born absinthe as we know it today.
The mint-green gem of absinthe deep in the glass, where you guzzle perdition and feel the thunder of god’s judgement that roasts the naked soul.
Paul Verlaine described it as.