It's National Absinthe Day!
Source: "Absinth Fairy" by Linda Ravenscroft, www.amazon.com
Yes that's right- today is National Absinthe Day!
But I know what you're thinking (or at least I always do), what's up with these "National (fill in the blank) Days"?
In this case March 5th was the day absinthe became legal again after a 95 year ban in the United States (1912-2007).
But what the heck is absinthe exactly and why was it banned here in the first place?
Long story short, absinthe, or the green fairy for slang, is a high-proof spirit (45%-74% here in the U.S.) made from the leaves of the grande wormwood plant. There is/was this legend that absinthe makes you hallucinate or go crazy, but this simply isn't true. The misunderstanding stems from a substance contained in wormwood called thujone, which was once considered a powerful hallucinogenic.
Because of this misconception absinthe was outlawed in many countries, including the U.S. in 1912, but thanks to modern science and Lucid Absinthe (the first modern importers) the green fairy was back in business in 2007.
A common way to drink absinthe is by slowly dripping water over a sugar cube until the spirit becomes cloudy; this process is called louche. Many bartenders also like to add small amounts of it to a cocktail, sometimes just rinsing the glass to get its strong floral and bitter notes.
Source: Lady Absinthe Fountain, www.absintheonthenet.com
To celebrate this day you can head on over to your favorite Los Angeles cocktail bar and ask the bartender to make you something nice with absinthe! I recommend one of the most original cocktails ever recorded. In fact, it's such a classic this will be the topic of our next post. Cheers!
Source: Sazerac Cocktail, LA Speakeasy
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