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Etymology[ edit ] The French word absinthe can refer either to the alcoholic beverage or, less commonly, to the actual wormwood plant, with grande absinthe being Artemisia absinthiumand petite absinthe being Artemisia pontica. Whether the word was a borrowing from Persian into Greek, or from a common ancestor of both, is unclear.
Alternative spellings for absinthe include absinth, absynthe and absenta. Absinth without the final e is a spelling variant most commonly applied to absinthes produced in central and eastern Europe, and is specifically associated with Bohemian-style absinthes.
The medical use of wormwood dates back to ancient Egypt and is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrusc. Wormwood extracts and wine-soaked wormwood leaves were used as remedies by the ancient Greeks. Moreover, there is evidence of a wormwood-flavoured wine in ancient Greece called Essay on dangers of alcohol oinos.
According to popular legend, it began as an all-purpose patent remedy created by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in CouvetSwitzerland around the exact date varies by account. Ordinaire's recipe was passed on to the Henriod sisters of Couvet, who sold it as a medicinal elixir.
By other accounts, the Henriod sisters may have been making the elixir before Ordinaire's arrival. Inthey built a second distillery in Pontarlier, France under the company name Maison Pernod Fils.
Growth of consumption[ edit ] An advertising poster for Absinthe Beucler Absinthe's popularity grew steadily through the s, when it was given to French troops as a malaria preventive,  and the troops brought home their taste for it.
It was favoured by all social classes, from the wealthy bourgeoisie to poor artists and ordinary working-class people.
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By the s, mass production had caused the price to drop sharply, and the French were drinking 36 million litres per year bycompared to their annual consumption of almost 5 billion litres of wine.
It was never banned in Spain or Portugal, and its production and consumption have never ceased. It gained a temporary spike in popularity there during the early 20th century, corresponding with the Art Nouveau and Modernism aesthetic movements.
Its Catalan lease-holder Cayetano Ferrer named it the Absinthe Room in because of the popularity of the drink, which was served in the Parisian style. It makes a ferocious beast of man, a martyr of woman, and a degenerate of the infant, it disorganizes and ruins the family and menaces the future of the country.
Lanfray was an alcoholic who had consumed considerable quantities of wine and brandy prior to drinking two glasses of absinthe, but that was overlooked or ignored, placing the blame for the murders solely on absinthe. InBelgium and Brazil banned the sale and distribution of absinthe, although these were not the first countries to take such action.
It had been banned as early as in the colony of the Congo Free State. Following the conclusion of the First World War, production of the Pernod Fils brand was resumed at the Banus distillery in CataloniaSpain where absinthe was still legal  but gradually declining sales saw the cessation of production in the s.
Clandestine home distillers produced colourless absinthe la Bleuewhich was easier to conceal from the authorities. Many countries never banned absinthe, notably Britain, where it had never been as popular as in continental Europe.
Modern revival[ edit ] British importer BBH Spirits began to import Hill's Absinth from the Czech Republic in the s, as the UK had never formally banned it, and this sparked a modern resurgence in its popularity.
It began to reappear during a revival in the s in countries where it was never banned. Forms of absinthe available during that time consisted almost exclusively of Czech, Spanish, and Portuguese brands that were of recent origin, typically consisting of Bohemian-style products.
Connoisseurs considered these of inferior quality and not representative of the 19th century spirit. Vertes at left; blanches at right. A prepared glass is in front of each.
In the Netherlands, the restrictions were challenged by Amsterdam wineseller Menno Boorsma in Julythus confirming the legality of absinthe once again. Similarly, Belgium lifted its long-standing ban on January 1,citing a conflict with the adopted food and beverage regulations of the Single European Market.
In Switzerland, the constitutional ban was repealed in during an overhaul of the national constitution, although the prohibition was written into ordinary law instead. That law was later repealed and it was made legal on March 1, The drink was never officially banned in Spain, although it began to fall out of favour in the s and almost vanished into obscurity.
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