Absinthe, whats it all about?

Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century, but became popular in the late 19th century and it was banned by 1915, mainly for the fact it was portrayed as a ‘dangerously addictive psychoactive drug’.

Absinthe Shot glassAlthough Absinthe was vilified, it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Any psychoactive properties attributed to absinthe, apart from that of the alcohol, have been much exaggerated. It was not until the 1990's when the European Union finally decided and removed the barriers to its production and sale, it then boomed again and there were nearly 200 brands of Absinthe around.

There is a specific technique to preparing absinthe before you drink it, traditionally you would place a sugar cube on top of an absinthe spoon and place the absinthe spoon over the glass. Whilst pouring iced water over the sugar cube the water will evenly displace into the absinthe giving you a final solution which contains ¼ absinthe and ¾ water.

There is another method of preparing Absinthe, it is called 'The Bohemian Method' and is a recent invention that involves fire, and was not performed during Absinthe's peak of popularity in the Belle Époque. Like the above method, a sugar cube is placed on a slotted spoon (NOT ONE OF OUR PEWTER SPOONS) over a glass containing one shot of absinthe. The sugar is pre-soaked in alcohol (usually more absinthe), then set ablaze (NOT ONE OF OUR PEWTER SPOONS OR YOU WILL END UP WITH MOLTEN PEWTER IN YOUR DRINK). The flaming sugar cube is then dropped into the glass, thus igniting the absinthe. Finally, a shot glass of water is added to douse the flames. This method tends to produce a stronger drink than the French method. A variant of the Bohemian Method involves allowing the fire to extinguish on its own. This variant, sometimes referred to as "Cooking the Absinthe" or "Flaming Green Fairy," destroys most of the alcohol.

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