By Christina Oxford
My first impression of absinthe was a few years ago when I was watching an episode of No Reservations. Anthony Bourdain traveled to Paris in search of this mysterious liquor, and after an evening of imbibing, he ended up floating for hours in an eerie pool in a dungeon-like basement of his historic hotel. For me, this sealed the myth that surrounds absinthe’s psychedelic powers.
This myth is based in fact, sort of. Absinthe is made from the leaves and flowers of wormwood, which contains thujone, a psychedelic drug, and this is why absinthe was banned from many European countries (and the U.S.) in 1912. In 2007, it was discovered that absinthe contains only trace amounts of thujone, not enough to actually be banned from the U.S. under the current laws, and the fabled liquor once again sailed to our shores.
Absinthe gets its primary flavor profile from fennel and anise, which are also responsible for its lovely green color. After all, it is known as the Green Fairy, but remember, that herbal flavor packs quite a punch, so it’s best to dilute it before serving.
The Big Easy has long embraced the Green Fairy, and we were lucky enough to try some amazing Absinthe cocktails on our last trip to New Orleans. Christopher Starnes of The Three Muses treated us to Suspiciously Absinthe, which combines a red absinthe made from hibiscus flowers.
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