Absinthe redux

Having run across several recent posts on Absinthe (okay…only two articles), now is as good of a time as any to dispel some basic misconceptions.

  • First and foremost, absinthe has technically been legal to sell in the United States since 1972. However, since 1972, any product sold in the U.S. must be thujone free (See section 172.510 of the FDA Code regarding food additives). It was presumed that all absinthe had thujone, thus, no one decided to make it here in the States. Since it was illegal to import Absinthe (rather than simply products containing thujone) into the States, Absinthe became extinct due to the legal process.

    However, it was finally understood in May of 2007 that there was an acceptable margin of error in thujone analysis of 10 parts per million. Thus, any Absinthe that found its way into the States and can prove that they have between zero to ten parts parts per million of thujone in their drink are now legal by FDA standards. It is still illegal to import Absinthe today, so any importation will need to jump some legal hurdles if you need/want to declare said importation.

  • You cannot hallucinate on Absinthe. You can get very, very drunk on it, much like any liquor.
  • Unless you have your own still, you cannot make Absinthe at home. Absinthe recipes that call for you maserating herbs x, y,and z in grain alcohol, Barcardi 151, or vodka result only in grain alcohol, Barcardi 151, or vodka tasting like herbs x, y,and z.

    Absinthe is made from macerating herbs in alcohol, directly distilling the maseration, and then coloring it by the adding even more herbs.

  • You cannot hallucinate on Absinthe.
  • Setting sugar on fire and letting it drip into your absinthe is based on a tradition that goes all the way back to the early 1990′s. In other words, it was a marketing gimmick. Typically all you get from setting fire to sugar and letting it drip into your absinthe is a waste of absinthe.

    However, adding dissolved sugar into Absinthe does have a tradition of longer than 15 years.

  • You cannot hallucinate on Absinthe.
  • As a rule of thumb, if you’re looking for traditional absinthe, avoid any made in the Czech Republic or Spain. There may be exceptions to this trule, but not many.
  • You cannot hallucinate on Absinthe.