Drug info - Absinthe and the fore fathers

Discussion in 'Alcohol' started by joevette, Nov 22, 2004.

  1. joevette

    joevette Newbie

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    I just heard a rumor that some of the fore fathers (USA) drank absinthe regularly. Does anyone know anything about this, maybe which ones?
     
  2. deam

    deam Newbie

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    If by "fore fathers" you mean the founding fathers it is very unlikely
    that any of them drank absinthe. For one thing, absinthe wasn't even
    mass-produced in France until 1805 and the Declaration of Independence
    was signed in 1776. So, by the time absinthe became popular in France
    in the late 19th century, most of the founding fathers would have been
    dead.

    Also: absinthe wasn't ever very popular in the US; the only city that
    really consumed absinthe at a rate even close to the French was New
    Orleans due to their french heritage.
     
  3. OneDiaDem

    OneDiaDem Nefelibata Platinum Member

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    from U.K.
    From Absintheonline:

    The History of Absinthe
    Absinthe takes its name from Artemisia absinthium, the botanical name for the bitter herb wormwood, known in French as 'grande absinthe'. This ingredient of the liquor absinthe also contains the molecule thujone, which supposedly accounts for its alleged mind-altering properties. Wormwood infusions had been known as a medicine as far back as Greek times however it was not until around 1792 that the alcoholic elixir was supposedly created. Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland, distilled the wormwood plant in alcohol with anise, hyssop, lemon balm, and other local herbs. The final tonic, quite powerful at around 72% alcohol, was heralded as a medical cure-all. According to popular legend, Ordinaire left his recipe to two sisters (or was it the two sisters who gave the recipe to Ordinaire?) and it was in turn passed on to a Major Dubied, whose son-in-law was one Henri-Louis Pernod. Whatever the truth behind its origins, absinthe stopped being a local curiosity and started on its route to becoming an international phenomenon in 1797 with the foundation of their distillery in Couvet, Swirzerland. In 1805, the famous Pernod fils distillery expanded and opened in Pontarlier, France to avoid customs taxes between Switzerland and France. By 1905, there were hundreds of distilleries in all corners of France producing absinthe, with over 40 distilleries operating across the Swiss border in the French Jura region, 22 of which were located within the town of Pontarlier itself, producing 70,000 hectolitres a year from 151 stills. The success of the highly regarded Pontarlier brands brought many imitators and profiteers soon introduced cheaper, adulterated and even poisonous imitations onto the market that were in turn partially responsible for the reputation that absinthe gained for causing delirium and madness in those who drank it.

    Originally, absinthe gained its popularity from its use in North Africa during the French campaigns of the 1840s as a disease preventative and water purifier. The French soldiers brought their taste for the herbal beverage back to the cafés of Paris. Here it became a fashionable drink of the bourgeoisie, so much so that the time between 5.00 pm and 7.00 pm became known as " l'Heure Verte " (the Green Hour), and absinthe soon became the most popular aperitif in France. From the mid 19th century onwards absinthe became associated with bohemian Paris and featured frequently in the paintings of such artists as Manet, Van Gogh and Picasso. When they were not painting it, they were drinking it in large quantities, joined by contemporary poets such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine - who practically made a career out of it.
    Absinthe production grew so much that it became cheaper than wine.
    Between 1876 and 1900 the annual consumption had rocketed from 10,000 hectolitres to 210,000 hectolitres. It is no exaggeration to compare the impact of banning absinthe to the effect that the banning of Scotch whisky would have on Scotland.

    So, if absinthe was so popular, why was it banned? There were a number of reasons. It got caught up in the temperance movement that was sweeping Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and became the scapegoat for all alcohol; findings were published showing that thujone was a neurotoxin in extemely large quantities (albeit more than was found in even 150 glasses of absinthe!) which caused convulsions and death in laboratory animals. Pressure also came from the wine producers who saw its popularity as a threat to their sales, which had been badly hit by the spread of the phylloxera louse that destoyed most of France's vineyards by 1890. Another nail was driven in the coffin with the lurid 'Absinthe Murder' which took place in Switzerland in 1905 when one monsieur Lanfray shot his entire family after drinking absinthe. The fact that he had also consumed several litres of wine and a considerable amount of brandy was overlooked by the prohibitionists and by 1910 absinthe was banned in Switzerland.
    The constant bad press from across the Atlantic and an anti-absinthe novel titled
    "Wormwood, a Drama of Paris" by Marie Corelli, caused a furor in the United States (where it was mostly consumed only in 'cosmopolitain' cities like San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and New York) and prompted its banning nationwide in 1912. Finally, in 1915, absinthe was banned in France, but it took a military order to do it.

    Contrary to popular belief, absinthe was never banned in the UK, Spain, or Portugal.
    Curiously enough, the French government passed a decree over 15 years ago (Décret n° 88-1024 du 2 novembre 1988) that in effect, re-legalized absinthe under a modified name ('spiriteux' or 'amer aux plantes d'absinthe') which now must follow certain labeling guidelines and a chemcial analysis. A break-through for absinthe in modern France, but apparently no one was informed about it until more than 10 years later! These regulations have since been adopted in the most part by the European Union, though the use of the name 'Absinthe' has been allowed and abused. Unfortunately few modern producers know anything about original absinthe or the scope of this decree and have proceeded to make what amounts to absinthe-infused pastis and 'faux'-absinthes.
     
    1. 4/5,
      Very interesting story, thanks for adding it
      Sep 29, 2009
  4. deam

    deam Newbie

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    That's where Jade comes in...
     
  5. flastic

    flastic Newbie

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    i've had shots of absinthe before and it made me drunk like any other alochol. what is the hype about?????
     
  6. deam

    deam Newbie

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    The history surrounding the drink for one thing; it was quite popular
    with artists, writers and poets in France during the 19th century. It
    was rumored that Van Gogh cut his ear off under the influence of
    absinthe; what was more likely was he was, in fact, bi-polar or
    schizophrenic.

    Also: the drink was banned at the start of the 20th century and has
    been banned in most of the world ever since; it is now legal, mostly,
    in all of Europe.

    More useful info. can be found here.
     
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