Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome

Stephan A Padosch†1, Dirk W Lachenmeier*†2 and Lars U Kröner†3

Addresses: 1 Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Im Neuenheimer Feld 110, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany; 2 Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weißenburger Str. 3, D-76187 Karlsruhe, Germany;  3 Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität zu Köln, Melatengürtel 60–62, D-50823 Köln, Germany

 

The theory of a previous gross overestimation of the thujone content of absinthe may have been
verified by a number of independent studies. Based on the current available evidence, thujone
concentrations of both pre-ban and modern absinthes may not have been able to cause detrimental
health effects other than those encountered in common alcoholism. Today, a questionable
tendency of absinthe manufacturers can be ascertained that use the ancient theories of absinthism
as a targeted marketing strategy to bring absinthe into the spheres of a legal drug-of-abuse.
Misleading advertisements of aphrodisiac or psychotropic effects of absinthe try to re-establish
absinthe's former reputation. In distinction from commercially manufactured absinthes with limited
thujone content, a health risk to consumers is the uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal
products such as absinthe essences that are readily available over the internet.

A Classic Cocktail

Sazerac (Waldorf-Astoria)

Add to iced tumbler, shake and strain into a cocktail glass:
 
2 dashes of Peychaud Bitters
1 dash absinthe
1 dash Italian vermouth
1 jigger bourbon or Scotch

 

The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book, 1933

 

Ed. note: The recipe given in The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book differs from both the original and traditional New Orleans recipes.  The former calls for cognac,  Peychaud's Bitters and sugar.   The latter calls for rye whiskey in place of the cognac, a rinse of absinthe, Peychaud's Bitters and sugar. ~ Hiram

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Absinthe Tasting Journal

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The WS Absinthe Tasting Journal

With room for over 200 tastings, provides novices and experts with a primer in absinthe history and facts, as well as instructions on how to conduct scorings and blind tastings.

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