Greetings from eAbsinthe

eAbsinthe is now an information site for all things absinthe: Learn about the Green Fairy’s history, ban & her modern renaissance; compare different styles of absinthe and be inspired by fantastic cocktails… See some of the art for which absinthe was an inspirational and creative catalyst, and understand the key ingredients and the absinthe effect.

As always, we welcome any questions you may have about La Fée Verte. We love to hear from fellow Absintheurs – so email any enquiries

Enjoy!

eAbsinthe

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18th May 2011: A date for all Absinthe lovers to celebrate

A wave of excitement is surging through the Absinthe category, as after 96 years the French Government have repealed their Absinthe Ban of 1915. We have it on good authority that brands such as La Fée and Pernod played their part; the repeal was instigated and lobbied via the FFS [Fédération Française des Spiritueux]. The repeal was finally voted through the French Senate (upper house) twice and the National Assembly (lower house). Big congratulations to all involved – this is the last step to Absinthe being recognised as a fully legitimate drinks category… Santé!

Marie-Claude Delahaye & George Rowley re-label the first bottle of real Absinthe in France since 1915

Marie-Claude Delahaye (Le Musée de l’Absinthe, Auvers~sur~Oise, France) and George Rowley (La Fée brand owner and absinthe pioneer) re- labelled the first bottle of real Absinthe distilled in France the very same week – in the La Maison du Whisky’s flagship spirit shop in St Germain, Paris. The bottle from this historic moment now resides at Marie-Claude’s museum.

We sent our expert to Bordeaux for Vinexpo last week – the leading global drinks show which is held every two years – it was great to see both Pernod and La Fée already available in the top restaurants and bars in Bordeaux town centre.

A delightful Maker's Mark & La Fée Parisienne Sazerac being made at Café Bellini

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Which Absinthes do the Spirits Experts really rate as the best out there?

Each year, as the recognition of the category expands and develops, more and more institutions are setting up competitions to assess which absinthes are worthy of true industry recognition. eAbsinthe has written the following article in order to establish once and for all which of today’s commercially available absinthes are considered by expert independent judging bodies to be the best in their category. We have detailed the awards won by each of the better known absinthes and also profiled the individual competitions. You will find the information laid out reflecting the number of awards received and the years they were achieved in. This data has been gathered from public sources for the following main global spirits industry competitions of any consequence:

1. The Absinthiades

2. The Spirits Business Absinthe Masters

3. The LA International Wine & Spirits Competition

4. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition

5. The International Spirits Challenge

6. The International Wine & Spirit Competition

7. The Chicago Beverage Testing Institute

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The Spirits Business Absinthe Masters

Last month the inaugural Spirits Business Absinthe Masters were held in London. The event was designed to taste and assess a whole host of predominantly French and Swiss absinthes to establish which, if any, possess the quality to truly be considered a master of its type (awards encompassing taste and design & packaging).

The absinthes were divided into four categories in recognition of the variation between the different styles. The four styles of absinthe being judged were as follows; Coloured Spirit, Coloured Amer, non-Coloured Spirit, non-Coloured Amer. The distinction between the two styles is critical, and is based on the content of grand wormwood in the distillation of the absinthe. Whilst spirit absinthes are now legal again across most of the world; amers are not – being legal in far fewer countries (USA & Canada being two notable nations where amers are still prohibited). A spirit is limited to 10 parts per million (ppm) of thujone while an amer can reach up to but not exceed 35ppm.

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Cocktails

ABSINTHE COCKTAIL
Glass: Martini
Garnish: Mint leaf
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
1 shot La Fée Parisienne (68%) absinthe
1 shot Chilled mineral water
¼ shot Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)
Variant: If grenadine (pomegranate syrup) is
substituted for the sugar syrup this becomes a
Tomate.
Origin: Dr. Ordinaire perfected his recipe for
absinthe in 1792 and from day one it required the
addition of water and sugar to make it palatable.
Comment: Absinthe tamed and served up.

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Star Anise

Star Anise is the name given to the seed pod of the small evergreen tree Illicium Verum which is indigenous to southwest China and the spice that it produces. The seed pod is shaped like a star and as its Chinese bajiao name would suggest it has eight points (bajiao literally means eight corners). As star anise is a spice it is of course unrelated to anise (Pimpinella anisum), however its flavour is very similar. This is because they both contain the chemical compound anethol which results in the liquorice-like flavour associated with them.
Recently star anise has increased its popularity in the West as it is such an effective substitute for the more expensive anise while being used as flavouring in baking. Star anise is also used in the production of many types of liquor in Europe, most notably by herbal or anise based liquors such as Galliano, sambuca, pastis and many types of absinthes.

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Angelica

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is a tall growing biennial herb that is native to temperate and sub-arctic parts of the Northern Hemisphere which can reach up to 2 metres in height. The angelica plant features numerous small serrated leaves and greenish yellow flowers which grow in dense globular umbels, blossoming in July before leaving yellow oblong fruits. Angelica is used frequently in many herbal medicines for treatment of fevers, colds, coughs and many different stomach disorders. Angelica root contains vitamin B12, Zinc, Thiamin, Sucrose, Riboflavin, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Fructose, Glucose, and many other trace minerals.

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Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author, notable for such works as Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was a celebrity of the Victorian era and rose to fame not only for the books, plays and poems that he wrote, but also for the extravagant, bohemian lifestyle that he chose to lead at odds with the cultural orthodoxy at the time. He was well equipped to reach such a position as he had immense natural wit and was known to be a great conversationalist and raconteur.

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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was not only one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period; he was also one of the most famous absintheurs of the golden age of absinthe. Lautrec was born with a number of complications affecting his health which meant in his legs stopped growing when he was very young. This is the cause of his famous stunted image; as an adult he stood at 1.54 metres (5ft 1in). Therefore, although Lautrec was born of aristocratic stock his abnormal appearance drew him towards the margins of French society where he was to find the perfect subject matter for his later masterpieces.

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Marie-Claude Delahaye

Marie-Claude Delahaye is a lecturer in cellular biology at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris. She found her first absinthe spoon at a flea market in 1981 and was immediately transfixed by the ‘Green Fairy’.

Spending entire days carrying out research in libraries, Marie-Claude became an absinthe historian with the publication of her first book in 1983: ‘Absinthe – History of the Green Fairy’. The original edition of this book is now out of print and has become a collector’s item throughout the world.

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Thujone

Thujone is the active component found within wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and is therefore present in absinthe as well. The reported psychedelic effects that surrounded absinthe in earlier times were originally thought to be the product of this chemical. However more recently research has shown that the levels of thujone present in traditional absinthes were much smaller than was previously thought.

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