The History Of Absinthe
By 1915 it was banned in the US and other countries because of poor research claims that the active compound thujone, was addictive and caused insanity. Since then, the amount of thujone in Absinthe was found to be in such small amounts that the harmful side-effects have been dismissed.
In July 2004, a Dutch liquor store challenged the Absinthe ban and a judge upheld that Absinthe is no different from any alcohol product that is controlled by food & beverage laws...and Holland began selling it legally again! Now it is legal in every major country except the “Land of the Free” – America.
The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva (the original painting can be found in the Café Slavia in Prague.)
What Is Absinthe Made Of?
Many products are called “Absinthe” but connoisseurs say that the true forms (and best) Absinthes are often either homemade or from very small brewers who bottle it themselves. Wormwood (found in many Smart Shops) is the root that is extracted and mixed with herbs to form the basis of Absinthe.
What Are The Effects Of Absinthe?
The effects have been widely disputed; some say they achieve a “higher state of consciousness, veiled in a drunken stupor” while others claim to hallucinate after drinking copious amounts. Some just say it gets them drunk; after all the stuff is nearly 85% alcohol in most cases! Either way, it is a unique experience. Absinthe has featured in the work of many creative souls, including Manet, Picasso, Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Toulouse-Lautrec and our beloved Van Gogh. Luckily, there are a few places in town that serve proper Absinthe; keep your eye out for the signs, and be sure to ask the staff if it is the “real deal”!
If you like this article and want to read more check out the latest Smokers Guide to Amsterdam book - get your copy here! And take a look at our Pubs & Clubs Business Listings to find our Amsterdam favorites!