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  • News and Information

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  • Absinthe Cocktails


    While absinthe was becoming popular in 19th century Europe as a drink on its own, here in America people were celebrating the evolution of a new way of drinking alcohol: mixed drinks or, "cocktails."

    The earliest cocktails were simply a spirit—usually whisky or brandy—mixed with sugar and a dash or two of "aromatic bitters," a concentrated concoction of botanical ingredients that added nuances to the drink as well as the reputed medicinal qualities of the botanicals.

    With the large French population in New Orleans, it was inevitable that absinthe would be embraced there with enthusiasm. It's also understandable that absinthe, being strongly-flavored, slightly bitter and high in alcohol, should be pressed into service as a bitters, and so it was. Many of the early cocktails call for just a dash or splash of absinthe, the most well-known of these is the Sazerac.

    Here is a collection of classic cocktails containing absinthe from the pre-prohibition era as well as more modern recipes. There are often a number of variations on a particular recipe and where possible we have noted what is most often considered the canonical—but not necessarily the best—version.

    Cheers!

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  • Absinthe Chronicles

    Absinthe Chronicles art

    History

    Science

    herb lore

    News & Reviews

    Special Guests

    Absinthe Cocktails

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  • Absinthe Brand Reviews

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    • Absinthe Substitutes

      These are mostly the products that took over where absinthe left off, after the ban.  Pastis is an absinthe-like anise spirit that was essentially created to fill the gap left by absinthe.  There are also a number of intentional absinthe substitutes which are available in places where absinthe is difficult to obtain.

       

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    • Faux Absinthe

      These are products which are labeled as absinthe but, for one or more reasons, do not qualify as such according to the Wormwood Society's criteria.  These criteria are based on the characteristics of properly-distilled absinthes made at the height of absinthe's popularity in the late 19th century. Briefly, the criteria are:

      • Minimum 90 proof.
      • May not contain sugar or other sweeteners.
      • Must contain Artemisia absinthium wormwood as a main ingredient.
      • Must have a main characteristic flavor of anise and wormwood.

      Literally every genuine pre-ban brand of absinthe of which we have knowledge fits these criteria, and any evidence that any differing expression of absinthe ever existed is completely absent. Unfortunately, just as there were impostors and inferior products in the pre-ban era, so there are opportunistic and deceptive brand-creators today.

      Deception: Some of the brands in this section do not contain wormwood of any kind.  Some may contain some species of Artemisia, but not absinthium. Most are made by simply blending neutral spirits, flavorings, and artificial colors. Most also contain very little or no aniseed, and some achieve a louche effect with additives such as resins and gums, just as imitations did in the 19th century. Some may approximate absinthe technically, but their flavor profile is idiosyncratic and uncharacteristic of absinthe

      Sensationalism: We strongly advise consumers to avoid brands making claims about alleged psychedelic, hallucinogenic or aphrodisiac properties of absinthe.  These claims are false, and the hallmark of inferior and spurious brands. There are no known authentic brands which employ these questionable tactics.

      If you would like to add a review, please use the criteria in the Wormwood Society Absinthe Scoring Guide to determine your score.

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    • Traditional Absinthe

      These brands represent the quality range of modern absinthes made in the traditional style of the 19th century. Our criteria for what constitutes "traditional style" are based on the qualities and character of properly distilled absinthes made at the height of absinthe's popularity in the late 19th century; these were the definitive item. Briefly, these criteria are:

      • Minimum 90 proof.
      • May not contain sugar or other sweeteners.
      • Must contain Artemisia absinthium wormwood as a main ingredient.
      • Must have a main characteristic flavor of aniseed and wormwood.

      For more on these criteria, read this article on Absinthe in the U.S..

      If you would like to add your review, please read and follow the guidelines the Wormwood Society Absinthe Scoring Guide to determine your score.

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    • Vintage Absinthe

      Many do not realize that there are numerous surviving bottles of pre-ban absinthe from a good range of the more exemplary brands.  Extraordinarily well-preserved, these rare specimens are the final authority on the characteristics of absinthe, in quality, flavor, and herbal and chemical content.

      These bottles mostly represent the upper quality range of pre-ban absinthes made in the of the 19th century. Our criteria for what constitutes "traditional style" are based on the qualities and characteristics of these absinthes, made at the height of absinthe's popularity in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Briefly, these characteristics are:

      • Minimum 90 proof.
      • Do not contain sugar or other sweeteners.
      • All contain Artemisia absinthium wormwood as a main ingredient.
      • All have a main characteristic flavor of aniseed and wormwood.

      If you would like to add your review, please read and follow the guidelines the Wormwood Society Absinthe Scoring Guide to determine your score.

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    • Retired Brands

      These are modern brands that have either been discontinued or were small, limited productions and are no longer available.
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  • Knowledge Library

    This section contains the full index of all of our material on absinthe. It is broken into four categories: General Articles and Editorials, Absinthe Science and Research, Historic Documents and The Wormwood Society in the Media.

    Many newer articles are still being reformatted and will be published as available.

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    • General Articles and Editorials

      Informative and well-researched articles and essays on absinthe and related topics. Everything you could want to know about absinthe, from some of the foremost absinthe experts and aficionados.

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    • Science Articles

      These are some of the most relevant scientific documents relating to the study of absinthe. They range from the earliest papers written by absinthe's polemicists, such as Dr. Valentin Magnan, right up to the modern work of Dr. Dirk Lachenmeier and others.

      It should be noted that some of the older papers contain mistaken calculations and erroneous conclusions, sometimes based on the findings of still earlier erroneous work. Most of these errors have been detailed and documented in the later pieces.

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    • History Articles

      Contemporary 19th and early 20th century writings on absinthe; from newspaper articles showing the general perception of absinthe over the decades to authentic distillation manuals detailing the recipes and processes used to make absinthe during its peak of popularity.

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    • Absinthe In Law

      Here, we will collect articles and excerpts from relevant legal documents, legal codes etc. The legal situation around absinthe has been tangled and misunderstood for over 100 years, we hope this brings some facts to light.

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    • Wormwood Society in Other Media

       These are articles,stories, and interviews in print, video, and web, featuring or produced by the Wormwood Society or its members.

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  • Uncategorised

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  • Absinthe Venue Reviews

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