Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Absinthe has rapidly become one of the most requested products at vomFASS. The delicious spirit, steeped in myth and mystery, has become the trendiest cocktail of the cognoscenti. This typically green colored spirit is named from the Latin absinthium meaning wormwood. Authentic absinthe is aged in wormwood (artemisia absinthium), and steeped with green anise and fennel, producing its herbal and licorice notes.

Long associated with the ex-pats and bohemians of Paris in the early 20th century, the absinthe “green fairy” was celebrated in verse and prose throughout this colorful and artistic community. A following highlighted history of absinthe was compiled by the Absinthe House in Boulder, Colorado.

1769:  First known advertisement for “Bon Extrait d’Absinthe” appears in a Neuchatel, Switzerland newspaper. Advertised as “medicinal” the Suzanne-Marguerite Henriod remedy consisted of alcohol, wormwood, aniseed, lemon balm and other herbs.

1792:  Dr. Ordinaire, considered the inventor or modern absinthe, concocted a formula of eight plants, including wormwood, anise, hyssop and fennel, using 136-proof alcohol, which became the traditional proof of real absinthe.

1794:  First known written recipe for Absinthe.

1792:  Dr. Ordinaire sold his formula to Major Dubied, who built with his son and son-ion-law (H.L. Pernod) the first absinthe factory in Couvet, Switzerland.

1844:  During the Algiers war, the French army made use of the inciting effects of absinthe and provided the soldiers with regular rations of the liquor. Veterans who survived the war pushed the production output from 400 liters daily to more than 20,000 liters a day.

1900:  Many great works of art owe their existence to the mystery of the green fairy. Great names like Charles Baudelaire, Édouard Manet, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Degas, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent VanGogh, Paul Gaugin, Ernest Hemmingway, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Amedeo Modigliani, Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron, Erik Satie and Pablo Picasso are commonly named as devotees of absinthe.

1910:  Switzerland became the first country to ban absinthe partially due to the low grade use of alcohol and pressure from the French wine industry.

1920:  By 1920, most European countries ban the use and sale of absinthe. However, absinthe was never banned in Britain, the Czech Republic and Spain.

1923:  Germany prohibits not only the liquor but also distribution of the recipe.

1981:  Germany lifts the ban, however, use of wormwood oil/thujone was still prohibited.

1991:  The European Union changes the legal limit of thujone in spirits with an alcohol degree of up to 25%, set to 5mg/kg, 10 mg/kg for spirits up to 25% and 35 mg/kg for bitters.

2005:  Switzerland legalized absinthe.

2007:  United States legalized absinthe.

From legalization on, the cult around this drink has experienced a true revival and leaves “absintheurs” all around the world plunging back into the euphoria of the 19th century.
vomFASS continues to bring only the best oils, vinegars, spirits and liqueurs to the American marketplace. Offering the unique “look, taste and enjoy” concept, in delightful European tasting room settings, vomFASS is the go-to shop for today’s gourmet consumer.


In addition to the alluring and mysterious aspects of absinthe, the serving is charmingly ritualistic. Absinthe is traditionally prepared in a particular, precise way using a perforated absinthe spoon and a special glass with a distinct or bulbous area towards the bottom that indicates the amount of absinthe to initially pour. After pouring 1 oz. of absinthe into a glass, lay the spoon flat across the top of the glass. Next, place a single cube of sugar on the perforated area of the spoon. This step is not necessary although the sugar is customarily used to balance the bitter taste of the wormwood. With or without the sugar, begin to slowly pour ice cold water (3 – 4 oz. per 1 oz. absinthe) into the glass from a small pitcher or ideally, a specially designed absinthe fountain, fashioned with ornate taps. Stir the drink with the absinthe spoon after the water has been added. The liquid will become cloudy, and you will have successfully louched the absinthe making it perfect for enjoying.

According to Wikipedia, besides being prepared with sugar and water, absinthe emerged as a popular cocktail ingredient in both the United Kingdom and the United States. By 1930, dozens of fancy cocktails that called for absinthe had been published in numerous credible bartender guides. One of the most famous of these libations is Ernest Hemingway’s “Death in the Afternoon” cocktail, a tongue-in-cheek concoction contributed to a 1935 collection of celebrity recipes. The directions are as follows: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”

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