Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bugger Pink Elephants try the Green Fairy

A great part of the fascination of absinthe is due to its colourful history which dates back to just after the French revolution.

Having been banned for almost a century until its recent revival, absinthe is something of a "living fossil", a veritable coelecanth amongst drinks, able to magically transport us back to the glittering world of Paris and the Belle Epoque, a world of bohemian musicians and writers, of the Moulin Rouge and the bistros of Montparnasse, a world of starving struggling artists and glittering courtesans.But the origins of the drink lie far from the bright lights of Paris - absinthe was first produced near Couvet in Switzerland, and nearby Pontarlier in the Doubs region of France.

Legend has it, that the inventor of the drink was Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, who in 1792, shortly after the French revolution, produced the first commercial absinthe, initially as an all-purpose remedy or cure-all. It was nicknamed "La Fée Verte" - "The Green Fairy" - and this name stuck throughout absinthe's heyday. It was recommended for the treatment of epilepsy, gout, kidney stones, colic, headaches and worms.

Dr. Ordinaire's invention aroused the interest of a gentleman named Major Dubied, who saw its possibilities not just as a patent medicine, but as a healthy aperitif. Dubied purchased what was reputed to be Ordinaire's original formula from two sisters called Henriod at the beginning of the 19th century and began large scale production. By 1805, he set up an absinthe factory in Pontarlier in the Doubs region.

.The stuff is a mission to drink there are tools to pour it and rituals that are quite crazy like pouring iced water through a sugar cube using a fancy little spoon but the effect is always the same. This stuff will get you hammered very quick but unlike normal alcohol it will keep you clear headed and very much in control of your mind. Its quite a different sensation really crazy!