Originally produced as a medicine in the latter half of the 18th century, absinthe became a popular aperitif and eventually an icon of France’s Belle Epoque. Unfortunately, bad press and the rise of temperance early in the 20th century led to its almost universal banning across the world. The bans have now been overturned and the spirit is legally available again – the resurgence of absinthe in the UK and further afield is gaining pace.
Absinthe is a distilled spirit flavoured with bitter wormwood and a variety of other botanicals, including sweet anise and fennel, as well as many others. The two main types of absinthe are verte and blanche (green and clear). Immediately after distillation the spirit is clear and can be bottled as a blanche; vertes are traditionally coloured green by infusing the spirit with more botanicals before bottling.
“After the first glass of absinthe, you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” ~ Oscar Wilde
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