Absinthe Q& A
New to absinthe? Then you'll have questions – and here are the answers. If there is something we haven't covered, write to us and tell us what you need to know.
What is absinthe?
What is absinthe? An experience, first and foremost – not just a drink as you might think. Yes, absinthe is a drink, but there is far more to absinthe than there is to your regular bottle of scotch or brandy or gin.
Absinthe is an herbal liquor, and the primary herb that goes into its making is Artemisia absinthium, or grande wormwood. Grande wormwood is rich in an essential oil called thujone. And thujone, it is believed, can bring your mind to a peculiar state of heightened awareness... kind of open it up to new ideas, thoughts, concepts – which is the reason why the "Green Fairy" has been an icon of every self-respecting bohemian since the nineteenth century to this day.
Green Fairy (La Fee Verte in French) is the nickname given to absinthe over a century ago by the artists who used it to free their mind. To Rimbaud, Verlaine, Van Gogh, Hemingway, Picasso and countless other writers, poets and artists the Fairy became the symbol of freedom of expression and artistic mind-liberation – a symbol of rebellion, even.
If you are interested to find out more about the influence of absinthe on the great artistic world of the past centuries, we recommend this article about the Green Fairy on absinthefever.com.
Did Van Gogh really cut his ear off
while drinking absinthe?
Probably not. There are a lot of myths connected to absinthe drinking, and absinthe's unique herbal buzz is often blamed (for making people behave strangely). But absinthe is not a drug; absinthe is safe and not addictive. Van Gogh was probably deranged already, and absinthe was a suitable excuse.
But then again, some might disagree: "People should be careful with this stuff," said Julia Venobre, a Florida-based herbalist who's been making absinthe at home since 1999. "When Van Gogh got into absinthe, he got crazier. But, then, anyone who drinks 140-proof booze every day is bound to have some problems."
So how does it feel to drink absinthe?
This is very individual, but in general there is a feeling of unusual mental clarity and a sense of "being above it all" somehow. The majority of drinkers remain very lucid and in control, despite the alcohol content; this is because the stimulants in absinthe keep the effect of alcohol "in check". Few people report hangovers the next day.
Absinthe Fever has a page about the effects of absinthe and a discussion area. For more users' experiences, also check out Erowid's absinthe experience page. An article about modern research into how thujone affects the brain was published by the Science News: "Absinthe makes neurons run wild".
I have a question you didn't answer!
Sorry about that... This page is only meant as a very quick introduction to absinthe; we know there is so much more to the Green Fairy.
We are always happy to answer any other questions you might have – just drop us a line anytime.
Absolutely Absinthe! Kits
Each Absolutely Absinthe! kit contains everything you need to make great absinthe at home in only three to five days. Our illustrated "Discover absinthe" handbook will guide you through the simple preparation procedure and explain how to perform various absinthe drinking rituals.
One kit makes two litres of absinthe – enough to keep a party of seven or eight going right till the early hours!
Here is our best-selling Clandestine 2017 (luxury gift wrapped):
The finished product, ready to drink!
It's the Green Hour! In France, Switzerland and the lands of Bohemia alike, absinthe was traditionally drunk as an elixir that helped to put to rest the stresses of the day. Come five o'clock in the afternoon, folks began to gather in cafes where they relaxed in the company of the Green Fairy.
But whenever your day ends, it's never too late for a green hour and that refreshing, mind-shifting buzz that only genuine 19th century-style absinthe can bring about.
A French-style tarte tatin or an apple pie is optional – though we do think it goes very well with a glass or two!
How about an absinthe party?
Absinthe, the "forbidden", mysterious, mind-bending drink is always guaranteed to intrigue guests. Make your next party a special one with home-made Absolutely Absinthe! and let your friends marvel at the magic of the absinthe ritual and, then, experience that powerful absinthe buzz.
We think our "Butterfly Kiss" bottle label does fit the bill and captivates people's imagination even before they take a sip of the Green Fairy... but here is another stylish party serving suggestion nevertheless:
Ready to meet the Green Fairy?
The go ahead and...