While there’s no canonical description, Absinthe is a high-proof spirit flavored with anise and similar botanicals, the most notable of which are the leaves of Artemisia absinthium, aka grand wormwood. Most anise is green in color, which gave rise to the iconic “green fairy,” which is said to be seen when one consumes the spirit. A psychoactive chemical known as thujone is present in wormwood, and this gave absinthe an awful reputation in the early 1900s, when a handful of drinkers went on criminal sprees (some murderous). By 1915 it was widely outlawed. By the late 1990s a better understanding of thujone (which is present in modern absinthe in only trace amounts) led to these bans being relaxed. In 2007, absinthe was once again legalized in the U.S., opening the door for a rush of hundreds of new brands. Absinthe is properly served by placing the spirit in a glass, then pouring cold water slowly over a sugar cube placed over the glass on a specific type of spoon. Prepared absinthe “louches” by turning a milky white color.

Top Absinthe Posts:

Does Absinthe Make You Hallucinate?
Absinthe Cocktails Featuring Lucid
La Fée Absinthe Parisienne

Attention SoCal: Drinkhacker and Lucid Absinthe Want Your Absinthe Cocktails!

By Christopher Null | July 17, 2017 |

This April, we landed in Austin, Texas to see what bartenders in the region could do with absinthe — you know, outside of pouring it into a glass with sugar and water. The results were dazzling. I’m still dreaming about some of the winning concoctions the contestants came up with, particularly Chris Morris’s inspired Sogni…

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Does Absinthe Make You Hallucinate?

By Ivan Lauer | June 26, 2017 |

“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” – Oscar Wilde Though absinthe has been legal in the United States for a decade now,…

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Review: Copper & Kings Blue Sky Mining Brandy and Zmaj Absinthe

By Christopher Null | June 3, 2017 |

Two new releases, both limited editions, from Louisville-based craft distillers Copper & Kings — a muscat-based brandy and (another) absinthe. Let’s dig in! Copper & Kings Blue Sky Mining Brandy – This is a limited edition “7-year-old pure muscat American brandy aged 30 months in a Kentucky hogshead barrel.” The first four and half years…

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Austin Edition of Lucid Cocktail Classique Showcases Stellar Absinthe Cocktails

By Christopher Null | April 26, 2017 |

April is the perfect time to visit Austin, Texas, and the weather was outstanding for an afternoon of sampling some of the best absinthe cocktails regional bartenders had to offer. A couple of months ago, we — Drinkhacker and Hood River Distillers, the importer of Lucid Absinthe — encouraged bartenders to come up with new cocktails…

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Attention Austin: Drinkhacker and Lucid Absinthe Want Your Absinthe Cocktails!

By Christopher Null | February 28, 2017 |

Ten years ago this March, the effective ban on the sale of absinthe in the U.S. was finally lifted, formally legalizing the sale of one of the most mysterious and enigmatic spirits ever produced, marking the end of nearly a century of unwarranted persecution. When absinthe came back, it came back with a vengeance, with…

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Tasting and Testing: MashBox Club Spirits Samplers, 2016

By Christopher Null | July 18, 2016 |

Like Flaviar and the Whisky Explorers Club, MashBox aims to expose you to spirits you wouldn’t normally get to try. The main difference with this booze-of-the-month club is that with MashBox you get a lot more than just whiskey (as we’ll see below). It’s a veritable tour of the entire spirits universe. The deal is simple:…

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Review: Copper & Kings Absinthe Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | September 11, 2015 |

Recently we talked about Copper & Kings’ brandies. Today we look at the absinthes, a set of four blanche absinthes made in… Kentucky. All are based on the brandy distillate (so, made from Muscat grapes — though some sources claim French Colombard), vapor-distilled with grande wormwood, fennel, anise, and hyssop during the initial distillation. Intriguingly,…

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Review: Wild Card Pacific Northwest Absinthe

By Christopher Null | December 30, 2014 |

Bend, Oregon-based Oregon Spirit Distillers makes Wild Card Absinthe with locally-grown wormwood, fennel, and anise, the re-distills the resulting concoction and steeps it with petite wormwood, cardamom, hyssop, and melissa. The finished product is a light-bodied absinthe that is nonetheless a punchy and highly alcoholic nod to the past. Thoughts follow. Wild Card is pale yellow-green in…

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pernod original recipe

Review: Pernod Absinthe “Original Recipe” (2014)

By Christopher Null | January 25, 2014 |

It wasn’t long ago that Pernod re-entered the market with an authentic absinthe (i.e. one with wormwood in it). But purists complained: Why would Pernod, whose absinthe cred dates back to 1792 and which was the market leader for over a century, release an absinthe with a wholly new recipe? Does not compute. Following a minor…

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Review: Butterfly Absinthe

By Christopher Null | June 15, 2013 |

Based in Switzerland, Alan Moss is the kind of guy who lives and breathes absinthe. He writes about absinthe prodigiously on his blog, and he also makes the stuff (well, his partners do): La Clandestine is easily the best blanche absinthe on the market. Moss has other tricks up his sleeve, it seems, and recently…

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