Artemesia absinthium (absinthe, wormwood)

Artemesia absinthium(wormwood) is availiable from Horus. I believe this plant was allowed to ferment, like grape-juice or grain (hops) to form the liquer. Used by renowned writers i.e. Poe.

Try the following reference (online databases are great!):

I've been meaning to repost these recipes for absinthe for some time but just haven't gotten to it. A couple of people asked for pointers to further information, and I have included a little. Unfortunately most of the older books from which I got info on absinthe were from various libraries and I can't give a good bibliography.

There are a few pages devoted to the culture of absinthe drinking in an essay on Rimbaud by William Ober in his book Bottoms Up! (a rather unusual book, check it out). Alexis Lichine mentions it in his books on spirits. Wormwood and its chemical constituents are well documented in Mrs. Grieve's Herbal (a very good source book on herbs; I have found that British sources tend to be much more thorough and grounded in research than American ones, which tend to rely on hand me down tales and hearsay).

True absinthe was marked by its intense green color (which usually came from herbs other than wormwood, which is a gray-green at best). This lead to cases in which the drink was adulterated with copper salts, doubtless to the consumers detriment. The best absinthe contained 70-80% alcohol, which in itself makes a case for why it might be a dangerous drink. Of beverages still legal for sale in most places, both Campari and Fernet Branca contain wormwood, but are not nearly so alcoholic.

The 1911 edition of the Britannica remarks, "There is some reason to believe that excessive absinthe-drinking leads to effects which are specifically worse than those associated with over-indulgence in other forms of alcohol."

The manufacture and sale of true absinthe is still legal in Spain.


Absinthe #1

Place vodka in large jar with tight fitting lid. Add wormwood and shake well; steep 48 hrs and strain out. Crush seeds and pods in mortar. Add them and all remaining spices to vodka and steep in a warm place 1 week. Filter and sweeten. (The sugar syrup mentioned above is your standard simple syrup.)


Absinthe #2

Steep wormwood in vodka for 48 hours. Strain out and add peppermint leaves and lemon peel. Steep for 8 days, strain and sweeten. Smells good but is more bitter than #1.


Absinthe Wine

All herbs are dried.

Steep herbs one week, filter and bottle. My notes describe this as "bitter, aromatic and potent".


I at last have had the opportunity to try the drug Absinthe, and thought of reporting my experience on the net.

I was offered to try absinthe when visiting a cousin last week end. Interestingly, while absinthe is illegal about everywhere in the world, it is still legal in the small country of Andorre situated in the mountains between France and Spain. When bringing it back to Canada my cousin got searched, but absinthe is so little known in Canada that the custom officers thought it was an ordinary bottle of liquor, although it was clearly labelled Absinthe. I am told that it is another story if you get caught with it in Europe...

For anyone familiar with late nineteeth century French literature Absinthe posseses a very special mystique, since it looks like just every French writer of the time was hooked on it. I had always been wondering if the effects of Absinthe were due mainly to the high alcohol content, of if there was anything specific. The fact that the main active ingredient, Thujone, is listed a toxic convulsant made me somewhat apprehensive.

I drank a total of 3 ounces of absinthe that night. The taste is strongly aromatic and the mouth gets completely numb when drinking it. The procedure for drinking is to mix the absinthe with water. It then turns milky white.

After a few minutes of the first glass I could feel a undistinct feeling of warmth and a rather pleasant buzz. The two more glasses that I drank afterwards completely convinced me that the effect of absinthe has little to do with alcohol. After 3 ounces I was experiencing a strong buzz, somewhat similar to a long lasting nitrous oxide experience, minus the auditory disturbances. Duration was about an hour, with a 30 minutes peak. The effect was extremely pleasant, although I would not list absinthe as a psychedelic. It definitely belongs in terms of subjective effects to the solvent/nitrous oxide category, although pharmacologically very different. The following day I felt very lethargic, but it is hard to say if it was due to the absinthe since we stayed up pretty late that night.

My conclusion: I give it two thumbs up, but would not drink it more than occasionally since it is reported as neurotoxic. Try it out if ever you go to Andorre.

Pierre St Hilaire
MIT Media Lab

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