Once thought to cause madness, Absinthe (AKA The Green Fairy) was the target of a moral panic in the early 1900s that resulted in its banning in most European countries and America. Over the years the hysteria around the green liquor has died down and science itself has proved that while the drink may cause some unique effects, the claims of it causing hallucinations and temporary insanity have long since been debunked. Even with that being true, Absinthe does contain thujone, a chemical that in large enough doses will cause hallucinogenic effects.
The legality of Absinthe in the United States is a little tricky. According to the US Customs and Border Patrol, it is illegal to import Absinthe into the country. However, with the quantity of foreign-based Absinthe distributors online who are willing and able to ship to America, this doesn’t seem to be enforced on a regular basis. The FDA and TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau) say that Absinthe is legal in the states as long as the thujone levels are at 10ppm or less. That’s fine because experts say that’s about how much thujone belongs in Absinthe anyways.
It’s confusing, but the long and the short of it is that Absinthe is back and any fan of liquid spirits should give it a go. But since the liquor has been banned for so long most people don’t know much about it, how to get it or even how to drink it (don’t drink it “neat”). Luckily the Absinthe community is large and vocal on the internet, and with these sites you should be experiencing the effects of this magical green beverage in no time. Just drink in moderation – because while Absinthe won’t make you go on a killing spree or make you see magic unicorns, it is 140 proof, and that’s more than enough to get you passed out on your bathroom floor if you’re not careful.
History/Effects of Absinthe
The Return of The Green Faerie
The drunks at Modern Drunkard magazine have put together this great article about the rise and fall (and recent) rise of the drink. Everything you’ve every wanted to know about the drink you can find in this very informative article, even a first-hand experience at what drinking the new brands of Absinthe feels like.
Everything You Know About Absinthe Is Wrong
This article at Salon.com also details the up-and-down popularity of the drink, but also includes a bit more information on how to prepare a drink of Absinthe, complete with professionally made video.
Lucid was one of the first brands of Absinthe to be approved for sale in the US. While you cannot buy the drink at this flashy site you can find out a lot about the product and Absinthe in general.
This British-based Absinthe retailer sells a ton of different brands of Absinthe, separated by country. In addition to Absinthe they also sell the glasses, spoons and other Absinthe-related products. They selection of gift sets are great first buys for anyone just getting interested in trying absinthe.
La Fée Absinthe
This French distiller sells their own brands of Absinthe and no others. They have a good variety of brands across many different price levels and they also have a good amount of information for those looking to buy their first bottle of the drink. Every bottle of Absinthe you buy at this site includes a Absinthe spoon too, something most other Absinthe sellers do not do.
Swiss Absinthe, no cheese added.
This German online store is a great place to buy and learn about the drink. Their store is easy-to-navigate and breaks down their selection of drinks in convenient categories such as “deluxe”, “classic” and (most notably) “strong.”
This online liquor store is more than just a store. While they do have a great selection of drinks, they also have sections on recipes, user-submitted stories and galleries and articles about topics like “Absinthe At The Movies.”
Liqueurs de France is the distillery who produces PF 1901, an Absinthe that is generally regarded as the definitive absinthe by the drink’s enthusiasts. In addition to that lofty drink
This German-based Absinthe retailer sells a variety of alcoholic drinks including nearly 50 different kinds of Absinthe. They are also the exclusive online retailer of Mansinthe, a brand of the green liquor endorsed by Marilyn Manson. It’s evil Absinthe, with 66.6% alcohol.
The Wormwood Society
Named after the plant from which Absinthe is made, this is one of the best communities online that is dedicated to the drink. Everything from the history of the drink to how to prepare it is explained easily and clearly on this site, and if you have any questions you can always check out their informative and friendly message board. This is a great resource that helps to dispel many of the rumors and falsehoods still associated with the drink.
The Virtual Absinthe Museum
If you really want to get some good information about the history of Absinthe then this site is for you. Their devotion to the drink is close to a obsessive, with in-depth articles and a virtual museum that collects virtually everything associated with the drink. They have a store where you can buy Absinthe and Absinthe-related items.
This site has several features and sections that are worth checking out, but its main draw are the great reviews of various Absinthes on the market. There are a ton of reviews on this site, which makes one wonder how the guy who writes them still has the motor skills to type.
Classy Absinthe Drink
Since Absinthe has been illegal for so long, most people don’t know what you can and cannot mix it with. This short-but-informative guide lists what he considers to be some of the best mixed drinks that use Absinthe, note that he’s not big on using a lot of the drink though.
Hardcore Absinthe Drinks
Now, if you want to get hammered on Absinthe then check out these recipes. If you value your life you might want to avoid some of the recipes that use raw wormwood.
Absinthe is Back
Time to party like it's 1899!
The Absinthe-Minded Professor
This Forbes article has a great quote from Oscar Wilde - "A glass of absinthe is as poetical as anything in the world. What difference is there between a glass of absinthe and a sunset?"
The Mystery of the Green Menace
Awesome areticle from Wired about how an obsessed microbiologist cracked the Absinthe code and distilled his own stuff.