Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The Green Fairy Returns (absinthe)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ^ | 9/07/01 | Julia Nolte

Posted on 09/09/2001 1:03:12 PM PDT by LarryLied

                 The bar is almost empty in the
                 afternoon. Its chrome-plated stools and greenish
                 marble countertop coolly reflect the lamplight. A
                 woman sits alone at one end of the bar and leans
                 against her own reflection in a mirrored wall.

                 Only a second glance reveals the secret diva of this
                 locality on the shelves behind the counter -- absinthe.

                 There it is, that legendary herbal spirit, displayed in
                 seemingly endless variations, including Absenta Deva,
                 Absenta Serpis, Staroplzenecky, Absinthe Ordinaire
                 and Absenta Tabu. Their various shades of green
                 shimmer alluringly, but the woman at the bar is not
                 inclined to try them. "That's an intoxicant," she says,
                 "I'd rather not touch that stuff."

                 The "green fairy," as the potent liquor is often called,
                 has an interesting history: Once hugely popular among
                 artists and the public alike in the 19th century, it was
                 later banned in most of Europe because of its side
                 effects. Only recently the potent mixture is making its
                 comeback. True absinthe-lovers even conduct a ritual
                 using special glasses and spoons when consuming the
                 drink.

                 Oil of vermouth and alcohol are usually the main
                 ingredients of the green liqueur. This basic mixture is
                 enhanced by aniseed, fennel, hyssop and lemon balm,
                 and the dosage of the various ingredients determines
                 the individual flavor of the spirit. Vermouth gives
                 absinthe its green color and its bitter taste. And it turns
                 it into a different drinking experience altogether: Oil of
                 vermouth contains thujone, a neurotoxin that, if taken
                 in an overdose, can cause delusions, convulsions and
                 lasting damage to the nervous system. Enjoyed in
                 small amounts, however, thujone has a stimulating
                 effect and intensifies one's perception.

                 The Patience bar in Frankfurt's Nordend district is a
                 true oasis for absinthe-lovers: Here, the menu is as
                 green as the drink and guests can choose between
                 various absinthe cocktails that bring the cult drink of
                 the 19th century sip by sip into the present age.

                 There is, for instance, "Absinthe Blanc," a mixture
                 consisting of absinthe, almond liqueur, cream and
                 chocolate flakes. "You mustn't drink too much of this,"
                 the bar owner, Patience Läsker, warns with a laugh --
                 not referring to the dangers of intoxication but to
                 consequences for the waistline. The most famous of the
                 cocktails is called Death in the Afternoon, which was
                 created by novelist Ernest Hemingway, who added
                 champagne to absinthe. At a price of DM18.50 ($8.60),
                 this mixture is also the most expensive item on the
                 menu.

                 Just as extraordinary as the drink is the way it is
                 consumed: During the absinthe ceremony, cold water
                 trickles through a sugar cube lying on a perforated
                 spoon before dropping into the absinthe. This results in
                 a characteristic clouding of the liquid, called louche. In
                 a modern variation of the old ritual, the sugar is set on
                 fire, before it, now caramelized, sweetens the absinthe.

                 The flame licking around the sugar conjures up images
                 of dark back rooms and secret chemist's concoctions,
                 of the Val-de-Travers in Switzerland, where the first
                 absinthe distillery was opened in 1797, and of
                 paintings by famous artists. For instance, Pablo
                 Picasso's absinthe drinker, who sits slumped next to a
                 shimmering absinthe glass and dreams of distant
                 worlds.

                 Artists and writers like Oscar Wilde, Henri de
                 Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe
                 and Edvard Munch also paid homage to the green
                 fairy, and said they believed that they owed her their
                 visions and inspiration.

                 But the strong side effects led to absinthe being banned
                 in one country after another -- 1910 in Switzerland,
                 1914 in France and 1923 in Germany. Absinthe
                 regained its legality only a few years ago, through the
                 European Union's Aroma Directive of 1998, which
                 permits the production of absinthe with a maximum
                 thujone content of 10 milligrams per liter, thus marking
                 the renaissance of the green fairy. Ironically, it is still
                 prohibited in Switzerland, the country where it
                 originated.

                 In Germany, bars offering absinthe have opened in
                 Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt.

                 German absinthe merchant Sven Baumgärtner has
                 been selling the Czech Hills Absinthe in Germany
                 since January 2000. After a slow start, he says, demand
                 by specialist wholesalers and individual customers has
                 been growing steadily. "Absinthe has now become an
                 obligatory item in every good bar," Mr. Baumgärtner
                 says.

                 The absinthe wave, which for now is not much more
                 than a ripple, will finally drag this mystical drink out of
                 the back room, when it washes into the supermarkets.
                 The shimmering green bottle has already been sighted
                 there, concealed between innocuous names like
                 Fernet-Branca and Punte Mes. But most people still
                 tend to miss the green luster of the secret diva.
 


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-81 next last

Many painters were inspired by the
"Green Fairy:" The three paintings here,
by Edgar Degas (top) and Pablo Picasso (center and bottom)
are all called "The Absinth Drinker."
(Photo: AKG, file)

1 posted on 09/09/2001 1:03:12 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
Now to get this stuff legal and OK in American bars! (ha ha...)
2 posted on 09/09/2001 1:07:15 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
Not much chance of that.

Thomas Prisinzano, Graduate Student Department of Medicinal Chemistry Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University writes:

Absinthe drinkers were reported to have experienced a double action intoxication . This intoxication combined the separate effects of alcohol and thujone. The alcohol produced a sedative effect in absinthe drinkers while the thujone is reported to have caused hallucinations (both visual and auditory) as well as excitation.

The only proven effect of thujone, however, is its toxicity to the brain. The toxicity of thujone in the brain is believed to result from its structural similarity to tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC , the active compound in marijuana.

Cannabis has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and has great therapeutic potential.

Thujone and THC have similar shapes, and it is believed that they interact with the same biological receptor to produce their similar psychological effects. The similarities between the molecules include gem dimethyl groups and a similar carbon framework. It is also believed that the hydroxyl group of THC and the carbonyl of thujone may interact at the same site. Modeling studies show a good degree of overlap.

More

3 posted on 09/09/2001 1:11:56 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
Golly. Sounds like fun. We can't have Americans having fun and enjoying themselves, now can we?
4 posted on 09/09/2001 1:16:34 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
Oops...forget the above:

For a while it was hypothesized that thujone and tetrahydrocannabinol had the same site of action. This was believed to be true because of the similarities in their structures and effects. But in 1997, it was shown that neither thujone nor wormwood binds to the canabinoid receptor.

http://chemweb.calpoly.edu/chem/bailey/377/PapersSp2000/Ann/absinthe.html

5 posted on 09/09/2001 1:21:02 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
How Dubya won on the 'Ab-sinth-ee' ballot:
The RNC gave out samples of The Green Fairy in Florida and they punched the wrong chads. Hic!
6 posted on 09/09/2001 1:36:36 PM PDT by poetknowit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: poetknowit
More than a few people in my county were probably around when absinthe was legal. Likely they have horded bottles they keep next to their Trotsky, Stalin and/or Lenin shrines. Palm Beach County is in another world.An alien planet on which the indigenous media tells the residents everyday that the Klu Klux Klan and the Tsar's cossacks are about to wipe them out if they don't vote Democrat.
7 posted on 09/09/2001 1:56:33 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied, Orual
Degas: The Absinthe Drinker

She looks none too cheerful.

8 posted on 09/09/2001 2:04:44 PM PDT by dighton
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
And here I always thought that Pernod was Absinthe without the wormwood, kinda similar to Green Chartreuse.

Regards,
GtG

PS Remember: Absinthe makes the mind go wander!

9 posted on 09/09/2001 2:22:45 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: poetknowit
Land sakes, maybe we should employ that tactic in California! We get accused of everything else already anyways.
10 posted on 09/09/2001 2:24:48 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: dighton
Let her eat wormwood.
11 posted on 09/09/2001 2:36:19 PM PDT by Orual
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Central Scrutiniser
Heh heh, sounds like a bad bottle of Smirnoff!
13 posted on 09/09/2001 2:44:42 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
Here is an excellent site on Absinthe. La Fee Verte

BTW, Betina's Elixirs is an American company, so if you want to order any, it clears cutoms easily.

14 posted on 09/09/2001 2:47:44 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: dighton
And that's while the glass is still full.
15 posted on 09/09/2001 2:48:06 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: LarryLied
It's about time.
18 posted on 09/09/2001 2:54:12 PM PDT by aruanan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gandalf_The_Gray
I thought chartreuse was made from green apples.
19 posted on 09/09/2001 2:59:04 PM PDT by MHT
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
Bella_bru's web site mentions that hill's tastes exactly like you mentioned.
20 posted on 09/09/2001 3:07:49 PM PDT by gjenkins
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
I figure I'd try anything once, including varying species of hangovers.
21 posted on 09/09/2001 3:08:03 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
"Golly. Sounds like fun. We can't have Americans having fun and enjoying themselves, now can we?"

I don't think anyone here has a problem with Americans having fun and enjoying themselves, as long as it is done responsibly and doesn't hurt anyone else directly or indirectly. Take care and God bless.

22 posted on 09/09/2001 3:29:54 PM PDT by Enough_Deceit
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
My favorite from the Czech Republic:

Staropramen makes a good chaser.

23 posted on 09/09/2001 3:32:40 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
Hill's is crap. It's the Genny Cream Ale of the Absinthe world.

(Bella Bru, absinthe lover who even has real absinthe spoons and glasses.)

24 posted on 09/09/2001 3:50:46 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Bella_Bru
Anyone making it here? Seems a perfect DIY project.
25 posted on 09/09/2001 4:00:09 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
I figure I'd try anything once, including varying species of hangovers.

Some of us already know this...hehehe.

26 posted on 09/09/2001 4:03:29 PM PDT by Mercuria
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Bella_Bru
Ever had Staroplzenecky? I have a bottle right now; it has a strong anise flavor, which I enjoy. However, I still need to buy a proper spoon.
27 posted on 09/09/2001 4:09:07 PM PDT by Polonius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Bella_Bru
I've seen this site before.

Absinthe was once the subject of a writing project of mine, but having never experienced THAT particular vice, I had to research and found that site.

You'll find a lot of absinthe paraphernalia for sale on e-bay, if you're looking for more spoons! **g**

28 posted on 09/09/2001 4:10:05 PM PDT by Mercuria
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Mercuria
I don't remember. Were you there? :-)

You know the next ATF Night is sneakin' up again! Oh where is my self-control!?

29 posted on 09/09/2001 4:15:42 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
My personal fav:
30 posted on 09/09/2001 4:31:00 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Mercuria
You had to write about absinthe? How did it go?
31 posted on 09/09/2001 4:31:27 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Bella_Bru
It was pretty intriguing, reading about all that.

One reads lots of fact and fiction about certain controlled substances, you know, so it was a real trial to try to sort out fact from fantasy!

32 posted on 09/09/2001 4:42:16 PM PDT by Mercuria
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: all
A little advice for anyone planning on trying this stuff:

1)Make it a night it. Don't plan on going anywhere, even if you have a ride.
2)Don't drink it like it's beer or even scotch, vodka, etc. It's way more potent. Sip it slowly.

33 posted on 09/09/2001 4:46:18 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mercuria
A lot of people fail to realize that it's ill effects came from the fact that the original stuff was almost pure alcohol.
34 posted on 09/09/2001 4:47:05 PM PDT by Bella_Bru
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: StoneColdGOP
if said with irony, exactly!
37 posted on 09/09/2001 5:11:12 PM PDT by satire
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
When Hillarycare appeared as it might happen & destroy my business, I moved to Prague. Lived in the working people's district of Haje (next to the last subway stop outside the city) and sampled all the beer (beer, bread , sunka, bananas and fried cheese were my staples). Naturally, Urquell and Budvad were the first I bought. They were a disappointment. Lots of local Czech breweries produce a better product. Less skunky. Forget the name but the best I had cost 19 cents a bottle. One third of what the brands we know in the west cost.

While, back in the USA, I would buy a few bottles of Urquell and savor them, in the CZ, the beers which stood out were those which were not good.

38 posted on 09/09/2001 5:14:31 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: Central Scrutiniser
Difficult to do business in the CZ. At least for me and at that time. I had it all set up in the USA to import certain items (Moldavite and glass beads) but decades of socialism inculcated into the minds of those I dealt with that I was an exploiter, a capitalist pig, one not to be trusted. Spent months setting up a mutually beneficial arraignment and when I showed up for the buy, the price was what it was in NYC. The lady the principles had put on the counter broke down in tears when I told her if I wanted to pay NYC prices, I would buy the stones in NYC.
40 posted on 09/09/2001 6:12:07 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP Mercuria
I gotta go to one of those ATF nights sometime.

I gotta do some traveling period. I've never been west of Houston.

And speaking of guns, anyone want to win a Springfield .45 or a Ruger .22....or both(before California bans em), all by supporting a good cause? - Click here

41 posted on 09/09/2001 6:57:57 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Dan from Michigan
Dan, you simply must join us at ATF Night sometime. Oodles of fun.

Besides, after visiting So Cal you can return to Michigan and tell all your friends and associates what happens when a state allows itself to be over-run by socialists. That'll scare 'em into action.

Now, as for these weapons, since folks like Mercuria and myself DO live behind the Red Curtain, how many stupid laws (if any) would we be violating in getting those firearms shipped to us?

42 posted on 09/09/2001 7:17:26 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Dan from Michigan
Actually, I just remembered, you might be able to skip the whole traumatic ordeal of visiting Los Angeles and meet us all in the Nevada desert. Freeper Mr.B.Goes.To.Washington and I are in the very preliminary stages of planning an "ATF Night Goes to Las Vegas" trip for a yet to be determined weekend sometime in February or March of 2002. If it all falls together I'm sure we'd love to have you there.
43 posted on 09/09/2001 7:21:29 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
Look on the bright side. Soon you will either be working for the state or informing for the state. No need to worry about job security.
44 posted on 09/09/2001 7:22:05 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
Well I wish someone would hurry up! I got fired last week and I need a gig.

(Hell, working for or informing for... Eck!)

45 posted on 09/09/2001 7:26:38 PM PDT by StoneColdGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
I gotta go to Vegas. Nevada is from what I've heard, a 'libertarian leaning republican's paradise'

After my experience in Mt Pleasant(Michigan's big Chippewa Casino) when I was 18, I won't gamble much there.

As for laws, I don't know Kalifornia's laws. I do know that inorder to receive a firearm, it must be shipped by one FFL in MI to one in California. You'd have to jump through all the pistol buying hoops there your state laws have.

In my case, I'd have to go to the sheriff's office to get a 'permit to purchase'(Damnit), and then bring the gun back to get registered(Double Damnit) after I buy it. Then it's mine. If I won it out of state, I'd have the other state send it to a local FFL for a fee. Then I'd pick it up after the paperwork. That's just Michigan and Federal law though.

46 posted on 09/09/2001 7:38:23 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
BTW - Being colorblind sucks. If I wasn't colorblind, I'd have a pilot's license by this time and would take a Cessna all over the country.
47 posted on 09/09/2001 7:39:51 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: StoneColdGOP
Heh..heh..as I mentioned, I left the country for the Czech republic seeking freedom. The state I left was California. Got the distinct impression Willie Brown did not like me doing business there.

Upshot of it all was that, after living for 5 months in a concrete root cellar (the term for Stalin era worker housing), I was eating a wurst on a bench, looked across the street, saw America Express and said the hell with this, I'm going back to the USSA boy...back to the USSA...

Detroit never looked so good...the Burger King girls really knocked me out...I was back in the USSA....don't know how lucky you are boy...back in the USSA...

48 posted on 09/09/2001 7:40:49 PM PDT by LarryLied
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: LarryLied
Thujone and THC are nothing alike. Look at the structures. Thujone is more like menthol or thymol (hence the mouthwash taste of absinthe). Thujone has one bridged 6-carbon ring and THC has three unbridged rings, one with an oxygen in it. Thujone works through toxicity, and THC instead binds to certain receptor sites without dierctly damaging them.

Absinthe is one "sucess" in the WOsD- most Americans have never heard of it! It is relatively easy to make and growing the plant is not illegal. You can buy the herb through several herb sources, some online. Steam-distill wormwood, get some 190 Everclear, some flavorings, and you have absinthe of your own.

49 posted on 09/09/2001 7:41:08 PM PDT by DBrow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Central Scrutiniser
I don't know what brand I drank while in Greece and Turkey but the absinthe I drank wasn't to bad going down. About like cheap burbon.
50 posted on 09/09/2001 7:42:52 PM PDT by po'boy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-81 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson