Sunday, December 30, 2007

Absinthe, "Madness in a Bottle," is Back

Absinthe was a popular alcoholic drink that became wildly popular back in the 1800s. It was consumed in the cafes of Paris and elsewhere by literary and artistic stars such as Vincent Van Gogh.

While absinthe was claimed to have medicinal purposes (and absinthe in fact originated as a medicinal elixir), it was thought by some that one of the ingredients, wormwood, had hallucinogenic effects and could even cause madness.

Because of these health concerns, absinthe was banned by many countries by the second decade of the 20th century. Absinthe has recently made a comeback, and recently returned to the United States.

Fennel was one of the three major herbs originally used in making absinthe, wormwood was another, but many modern brands of absinthe don't contain fennel.

A review of absinthe in New York Magazine covers the leading brands, Lucid and Kubler, the Swiss company that has been making absinthe from the same recipe since 1875. The reviewer also compares those brands to his own homemade absinthe.

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