It's my understanding that absinthe was banned because the herb that gives the drink it's name has psychoactive--some would say toxic--properties. A similar flavour can be achieved using other herbs from the same family, but if you aren't drinking a hallucinogen, you aren't drinking the real thing.WikdWaze said:Of course, cheaper versions came along which used all sorts of things to imitate the color of the real thing. It was these cheap imitations that ended up causing the bad reputation of absinthe and helping to get it banned. From what I can gather, few, if any, modern absinthe makers actually adhere to the original methods or recipe. Almost all of them follow the path of the imitators of old, except they at least have the decency to use non-toxic ingredients.
That was one of the reasons given, but turns out to be largely false. The item in question is thujone, found in wormwood. It has a similar structure to THC although it behaves completely differently. And it is toxic, but it appears in such trace amounts that you would succumb to alcohol poisoning long before you drank enough to die from thujone toxicity. Even at the height of absinthe's popularity there was dispute about the secondary effects of the elixir. Some claimed it had mind-altering capabilities beyond it's alcohol content, others saw no such effect. In a country used to drinking wine, I imagine a 140 proof drink would be quite an experience.Derf said:It's my understanding that absinthe was banned because the herb that gives the drink it's name has psychoactive--some would say toxic--properties. A similar flavour can be achieved using other herbs from the same family, but if you aren't drinking a hallucinogen, you aren't drinking the real thing.
Wormwood = absinthe: Hallucinogenic.
Southern wormwood = petit absinthe: Not quite as interesting.
Very helpful. They even offer several options to replace the wormwood. When it comes time to try it I'll have to find a pale honey, then throw a quantity of those four ingredients into the secondary and see what happens ;D
That's government for you. Wormwood is not a controlled substance, the FDA banned it's use in beverages destined to be sold. The ATF and DEA won't come knocking on your door if you mix up a batch. Interestingly enough, the same holds true for humble root beer. There is a compound found in the sassafrass root which is a known carcinogen. The FDA has banned the use of pure sassafrass extract because of this. You can still use sassafrass and wormwood in drinks if you can provide proof that you have removed 100% of the banned compound. Who would have thought that genuine root beer was illegal in the USA?JoeM said:the funny thing is that although drinks containing wormwood are illegal, wormwood itself is not and can be purchased in many homebrew supply stores.