In early 1900s many European countries banned the strong liquor Absinthe, United States banned Absinthe in 1912.
Absinthe was never as popular in the United States as it had become in European countries such as France and Switzerland, but there were parts of the US absintheliquor, just like the French part of New Orleans, where Absinthe was served in Absinthe bars.
Absinthe is a liquor made from herbs just like wormwood, aniseed and fennel. It’s often green, hence its nickname the Green Fairy, and it has an anise taste.
Absinthe is definitely an interesting concoction or recipe of herbs that behave as a stimulant and alcohol and other herbs that work as a sedative. It is the essential oils in the herbs that cause Absinthe to louche, go cloudy, when water is added in.
Wormwood, Artimesia Absinthium, contains a chemical called thujone which is considered to be similar to THC in the drug cannabis, to be psychoactive and to cause psychedelic effects.
Absinthe United States and the ban
At the beginning of the 1900s there was a strong prohibition movement in France and this movement used the fact that Absinthe was linked to the Bohemian culture of Montmartre – with its writers, artists and also the courtesans and loose morals of establishments just like the Moulin Rouge, and also the allegation that an Absinthe drinker murdered his family, to dispute for a prohibition on Absinthe. They said that Absinthe could well be France’s ruin, that Absinthe was obviously a drug and intoxicant that will drive everyone to madness!
The United States followed France’s example and banned Absinthe and drinks that contains thujone in 1912. It became illegal, a crime, to purchase or sell Absinthe in the USA. Americans either were forced to concoct their very own homemade recipes or go to countries just like the Czech Republic, where Absinthe remained legal, to enjoy the Green Fairy.
Many US legal experts reason that Absinthe was never banned in the US and that should you look very carefully into the law and ordinance you will notice that only drinks that contain over 10mg of thujone were prohibited. However, US Customs and police wouldn’t allow any Absinthe shipped from abroad to enter the US, solely thujone free Absinthe substitutes were allowed.
Absinthe United States 2007
Ted Breaux, a native of New Orleans, operates a distillery in Saumur France. He’s used vintage bottles of pre-ban Absinthe to investigate Absinthe recipes and also to create his personal classic pre-ban style Absinthe – the Jade collection.
Breaux was amazed to discover that the vintage Absinthe, in contrast to belief, actually only comprised very small quantities of thujone – not enough to harm anyone. He became driven to offer an Absinthe drink which he could ship to his birthplace, the US. His dream was to yet again see Absinthe being used in bars in New Orleans.
Breaux and lawyer Gared Gurfein, had many meetings with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau about the thujone content of Breaux’s Absinthe recipe. They discovered that actually no law should be changed!
Breaux’s dream grew to be reality in 2007 when his brand Lucid was able to be shipped from his distillery in France to the US. Lucid is based on vintage recipes and contains real wormwood, unlike false Absinthes. Now, in 2008, a product called Green Moon as well as Absinthes from Kubler are all able to be traded in around the US.
Absinthe United States – Many Americans now are enjoying their first taste of true legal Absinthe, perhaps there’ll be an Absinthe revival.