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We’re Recapping Chilled 100 ELEVATE 2023: The History and Mystery of Absinthe

Artisan distiller and research scientist Ted Breaux has been called the godfather of absinthe. The go-to source for all things concerning the green fairy combined forces with Jennfier “Absinthia” Vermut, an award-winning absinthe distiller, to tell the tale of absinthe to ELEVATE attendees.

Photos by Justin Harrison

The pair explained that absinthe, an herb-infused alcohol made from fennel, anise, and wormwood, was once widely known as a liquid that made people crazy. Others said it caused tremors, convulsions, and death. But before that, it was a medicinal elixir, as wormwood was believed to strengthen the digestive system.

According to Thomas Culpepper’s “The Complete Herbal,” originally published in 1653, the distillation of absinthe was believed to remove the bitter properties of wormwood while retaining its medicinal value. Additional herbs were added to improve taste and enhance its medical worth.

The French military inadvertently propelled absinthe’s popularity through the 1840s, when it was rationed to soldiers as a preventative medicine to combat fevers. The green drink became so popular in bars and cafes that by the 1860s, France was celebrating “the green hour” every day at 5 p.m. Around the same time, an aphid-like insect called phylloxera began ravaging vineyards in Europe, limiting wine resources, and furthering the absinthe boom.

When people began suffering from what is now known as alcoholism, they called it “absinthism,” and people who recovered from the disease could return home, free to drink beer and wine.

In 1912, absinthe was banned in the U.S. An anise-flavored liqueur dubbed Herbsaint was created as a substitute, and the green fairy’s popularity never quite returned to what it once was.

Today, there is no legal definition of absinthe. Producers create the finished spirit via either distillation or cold mixing. The supposed secondary effects of the drink have been exaggerated and debated in recent years, but anyone hoping for hallucinations will find themselves sorely disappointed. Those who simply want to try a quality, modern-day absinthe can look to Absinthia’s Bottled Spirits and Jade Liqueurs.

The post We’re Recapping Chilled 100 ELEVATE 2023: The History and Mystery of Absinthe appeared first on Chilled Magazine.

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