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

Cocktail à  la Louisiane

Combine in a mixing glass:

3/4 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Bénédictine
3 to 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
3 to 4 dashes absinthe

Fill glass with cracked ice and stir for 20-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a cherry.

Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em - Stanley Clisby Arthur, 1937