Absinthe is a beverage which is renowned for its high alcohol contents which can vary from 45% per volume to 90% per volume. It is a spirit which anise flavored which is in turn reaped from herbs including Artemisia absinthium flowers and leaves, along with fennel and anise. Customarily, Absinthe is green in color but it can be red or colorless sometimes. Authentically, it is called “la fée verte” which in French means the “green fairy”. Since added sugar is not bottled with Absinthe, it falls into the category of spirits instead of liqueur. It can be devoured raw as well as with water.
The origin of Absinthe is said to be from French speaking western canton of Switzerland in 18th century i.e. Canton of Neuchatel although it is strongly associated with the culture of Bohemia as well. 90 to 130 years back, it was very much liked by French writers and artists from Paris. Its consumption was opposed by many but same time some of the very famous writers and poets had an addiction to absinthe. Like Alfred Jarry, the famous writer from France, Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, the famous French poets, Ernest Hemingway, well known author and journalist from America and Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet, they all were very much fond of Absinthe.
It has been depicted as a hazardous drug which is very psychoactive and addictive. It is rumored that, having the chemical thujone in it caused all the ill effects. Seeing this, lot of countries like USA, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Holland imposed ban on Absinthe by then. It was never banned in UK as it had never been much known over there. The versions of Absinthe available are Spanish, Portuguese and Czech which are considered by many as mediocre. Recently, multiple brands of Absinthe have being started production in Switzerland, France and other European countries. Sales of Absinthe are also permitted in Republic of Georgia, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil by limiting the alcohol contents as per the law of individual countries.
There are two traditional ways of devouring Absinthe, the French and Bohemian ways. In the French way, a shot of Absinthe is prepared in a glass and a sugar cube is place on spoon having slots and this spoon is placed on the glass of absinthe. Afterwards, chilled water is gently poured over the sugar cube making it 15%-25% of Absinthe and 75%- 85% of water. This process results in blossoming of the herbal flavor in it.
In the Bohemian way, fire is used. Just like the French way, a glass containing the shot of Absinthe is prepared and a slotted spoon containing a sugar cube presoaked with extra Absinthe is placed over it and is set ablaze. This burning sugar cube is then dropped in the glass containing the shot of Absinthe resulting in igniting the Absinthe. After this, a shot glass containing water is poured into Absinthe to extinguish the flames. This way produces a stronger drink than the French way and is often called as Flaming Green Fairy.
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