Absinthe (French absinthe - wormwood) is a strong alcoholic drink, usually containing about 70% alcohol. The most important component of absinthe is the extract of bitter wormwood, which essential oils contain a large amount of thujone.
Thujone is the main element, thanks to which absinthe is famous for its effect. Other components of absinthe: Roman wormwood, anise, fennel, calamus, mint, lemon balm, licorice, angelica and some other herbs.
Absinthe can be transparent, yellow, brown and even red, but more often absinthe has an emerald green color (it is thanks to this that the drink got its poetic name - "Green Fairy").
Traditional green color is due to (or was initially due to) chlorophyll, which fades when exposed to light. Therefore, absinthe is bottled in dark green glass bottles.
Absinthe grows cloudy from the addition of water - this is due to the fact that diluted alcohol is not able to retain the essential oils of wormwood, and they fall out of it.
Perhaps no other alcoholic drink has transformed with such transience from a favorite and favorite of all bohemians into a forbidden outcast of society. Once the inspirer of writers and artists, and then banned in almost all European countries - such is he, the famous absinthe, around which endless myths and speculation continue to breed.
Absinthe is only green. Emerald green is rather the traditional color of absinthe. In addition to the classic emerald, absinthe can be either completely transparent or multi-colored: yellow, red and brown. After absinthe became widespread not only among bohemians, but also among ordinary workers, it was experiments with color in cheap production that served as one of the reasons for its ban in almost all of Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, unscrupulous businessmen imparted the amazing green color to absinthe with toxic nickel and copper salts, and a very fashionable opal color was obtained with the help of poisonous antimony compounds.
Drunkenness from absinthe is unlike ordinary alcoholic intoxication. There is some truth in this. The state after drinking absinthe can range from euphoria and pleasant relaxation to extremely aggressive behavior. As a rule, intoxication from absinthe is accompanied by vivid memories and, in some cases, altered color perception.
Absinthe doesn't cause a hangover. Quite a common myth trying to justify the irrepressible use of absinthe. On average, the strength of this drink reaches 70%, so if abused, alcohol intoxication is guaranteed to be very unpleasant. Absinthe is a drink that requires thoughtful use in small quantities, only in this case, no hangover threatens.
To achieve a greater effect, absinthe must be set on fire. In fact, absinthe on fire is just one of the ways of drinking the drink, the purpose of which is more to bring entertainment than to add any special properties to the drink. They began to light absinthe in French cafes at the end of the 19th century, then it was immediately extinguished by adding water. Today there is a method called Czech, when sugar soaked in a drink is set on fire on a special absinthe spoon, and the resulting caramel flows into a glass.
Absinthe is still a prohibited drink. It is not true. In 1981, an official decree of absinthe returned the status of a legalized drink to absinthe, albeit with a restriction for producers on the amount of thujone content.
There are hallucinations from the use of absinthe. This myth is generated by the information that thujone is the main component in absinthe. Thujon, or monoterpine, is a natural substance found in thuja, sage, tansy and wormwood. Studies have shown that thujone acts on the human brain in a similar way to the tetrahydrocannabinol found in hemp. In large doses, thujone does indeed lead to convulsions and hallucinations, but today the amount of this substance, the maximum allowed in food, is strictly regulated by law. According to the norms established by the European Union, the permitted amount of thujone in absinthe is only 10 mg per liter of drink, which is clearly not enough for a hallucinogenic effect.
Absinthe is an extremely bohemian drink. This is partly true, there were such golden times in the history of absinthe. Mass worship of the green fairy began in France in the middle of the 19th century after the French military brought this fashionable craze with them from the colonial campaigns in North Africa. And for the next 20 years, right up to the 70s of the XIX century, absinthe firmly took possession of the thoughts of the French bourgeoisie. It was believed that absinthe improves appetite, and even a special hour was assigned for its use, which was called the "green hour". At the beginning of its popularity, the green drink was one of the features of the bohemian, in particular Parisian, life of that time. However, the more popularity absinthe gained, the more widespread it received, and not only in high society. Over time, cheaper brands of absinthe appeared, and it became available to ordinary workers who consumed a dubious low-quality potion in low-quality eateries.
Absinthe is a very bitter drink, so it can only be used in cocktails. This is only partly true. Absinthe is indeed a very bitter drink, besides it is very strong. However, you can drink it undiluted - this is how it was used during the epidemic of drunkenness among workers in France at the end of the century before last. Pure absinthe is recommended to drink in portions of 30 grams, while strongly cooling the drink. It should be borne in mind that the content of ethyl alcohol up to 70% can lead to a burn of the taste buds of the tongue, therefore, absinthe is often consumed, diluted with water in a ratio of 5: 1. Professionals pour water into absinthe through a special absinthe spoon, on which a lump of sugar is previously placed. Water dissolves sugar and it is believed that, when mixed with absinthe, enhances the effect of thujone.
Absinthe destroys brain cells. It is a myth. In any case, the negative effect of absinthe on the brain is no more than that of any other strong alcoholic drink. Absinthe does not have any special harmful effect on the brain, including due to the content of thujone. Moreover, modern chemical research has confirmed the fact that even before, even before absinthe was banned, the content of thujone in it did not exceed the maximum permissible standards today.
The strength of absinthe is identical to alcohol. The strength of ethyl alcohol is 96%, and the strongest absinthe is Swiss, has up to 80% of the volume of alcohol. And the alcohol content of classic absinthe is even less - on average 68-72%.