Monthly Archives: April 2007

Absinthe: The Effects

Oscar Wilde

What about the effects of drinking absinthe? Here are two reports from London and Chicago:

One night I was left sitting, drinking alone, and very late in the Café Royal, and I had just got into the third stage when a waiter came in with a green apron and began to pile the chairs on the tables. “Time to go, sir” he called to me. Then he brought in a watering can and began to water the floor. “Time’s up, sir. I’m afraid you must go now, sir.”

“Waiter, are you watering the flowers?”, I asked but he didn’t answer.

“What are your favorite flowers, waiter?” I asked again. “Now sir, I must really ask you to go now, time’s up, he said firmly. “I’m sure that tulips are your favorite flowers, I said, and as I got up and passed out into the street I felt the heavy tulip heads brushing against my shins.”

Oscar Wilde, London (1890) describes the effects of absinthe drinking

Czech Depp

Johnny Depp enjoys an absinthe whilst filming “From Hell” in Prague


The last time I did this, I lost the feeling in my legs,” says Ryan Kattner, aka Honus Honus, the mustachioed lead vocalist in Philly band Man Man. A 50-cent lighter spits a spade-shaped flame at a sugar-coated spoon, casting a soft neon green glow on a generously poured glass of absinthe. It looks like we’re cooking crack over a vat of food coloring, but it tastes like liquefied licorice and sweet moonshine.

“That’s actually kinda good,” says multi-instrumentalist Billy Dufala (stage name: Chang Wang) as he downs another hefty glass of green fairy juice. Good but strange. While no one’s had enough to make the room morph into Moulin Rouge, it takes only a few minutes before we all feel like cumulus clouds — floating somewhere between being stoned, drunk and (though I’m surrounded by dudes with three-week-old facial hair) aphrodisiac-addled.

Chicago, USA (2007)


Absinthe House

Fee Verte

Here is an interesting development, according to the venerable Old Absinthe House in New Orleans, Jack the Ripper was an absintheur!

As it turns out, Absinthe was indeed a dangerous substance, as the wormwood used for making it had narcotic properties. The consumption of Absinthe was associated with hallucinations, delirium, madness and even death. It is further rumored that Jack the Ripper, an unknown killer of a number of prostitutes in 1888, went mad through his addiction of Absinthe. Consequently, it was outlawed in the United States in 1912.

The Absinthe House Frappe

Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice add:
1 1/4 ounce of Absinthe
1/4 ounce of Anisette
top with a splash of soda water

The Old Absinthe House
240 Bourbon Street
New Orleans

Absinthe Art – Czech Republic

Absinthe Art

Slíva Jiří (1947)

Exhibited: Czech Centre, Paris 2002 – Gallery Michalský dvor, Bratislava, 2003 – City of Utrecht, 2003

Strong Alcohol – Shades of Absinthe

Green Fairy

Absinthe allegedly caused madness in the minds of writers during the Belle Epoque. These days it seems you don’t need to drink absinthe, or any alcoholic drink, to write crazy prose. I came across this extraordinary writing in Pravda:

Strong Alcohol Drinks Destroy Russian Gene Bank

Another legend says that drinking alcohol is absolutely normal for a Russian person. This is definitely not normal. A drinking man is an enemy to himself and to his family. Russians are a small nation – less than one percent of the Earth’s population. That is why, if Russian people destroy their own gene bank, they will gradually mix up with other nations.

Pravda means truth in Russian, but what is going on here? It sounds very similar to the rants of anti-absinthe zealot, Dr Magnan, whose experiments on guinea pigs were used by an unholy alliance of abolitionists and the wine growing lobby to ban absinthe in the early years of the 20th Century. Magnan firmly believed that absinthe represented a grave danger to the French genetic pool. Magnan even gave evidence to the distasteful eugenics movement, which was a precursor to the darker racial based theories that were to blight the Continent years later.

I am sorry to see that this sort of nonsense is given breathing room in a mainstream publication.

On a happier note our friends at Oxygenee Ltd are offering this charming absinthe pitcher:


Collecting absinthe from the pre-ban era is an area of growing interest. This absinthe pitcher, in the form of a bull dog, is an unusal and rare example. Absinthe spoons, absinthe fountains and absinthe glasses are all avidly collected by enthusiasts. If you are interested in starting your own collection then visit the one authoritative souce for absinthiana:

Boule Dogue” is looking for a new home. Like all absinthe antiques you can actually use him when enjoying a glass! Sante!

Thujone in Absinthe


Absinthe: attention performance and mood under the influence of thujone. : An article from: Journal of Studies on Alcohol

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the impacts of absinthe on attention performance and mood were different from those experienced with beverages that contain only alcohol. The ingredient causing absinthe’s toxicity is believed to be thujone. Method: A total of 25 healthy subjects participated in the study. An attention performance test and two questionnaires testing different mood dimensions were used. Three drinks with an identical amount of alcohol but with different amounts of thujone were offered. Results: The results of the present study showed that the simultaneous administration of alcohol containing a high concentration of thujone had a negative effect on attention performance. Under this condition, the subjects tended to direct their attention to signals in the central field of attention and to neglect peripheral signals; the number of correct reactions decreased significantly in the peripheral field of attention, and reaction time and the number of “false alarm” reactions increased significantly. The effects were most prominent at the time of the first measurement. When the subjects were under the influence of alcohol or were administered both alcohol and a low thujone concentration, these effects were not observed. The assessment of mood state dimensions showed that the anxiolytic effect of alcohol was temporarily counteracted by a high thujone concentration. Conclusions: As they are apparently opposed to the effect of alcohol, the reactions observed here can be explained by the antagonistic effect of thujone on the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor. Similar alterations were observed for the other mood state dimensions examined.

Seems pretty clear to me 🙂

Marilyn Manson Absinthe – Mansinthe


Marilyn Manson’s Mansinthe Prototype Unveiled

Markus Lion unveiled a prototype of Mansinthe, commissioned by absinthe fan, Marilyn Manson. The unnaturally green Mansinthe, sans wormwood and therefore legal in the US, was to have been released last December. Manson had said, “We hope to have it out in time for Christmas so parents can give it to their kids as a present.

Source: The Hierophant

🙂 Where is Mansinthe being manufactured?

Absinthe illegal?


Prohibition of absinthe still exists in the United States of America. The reason is the thujone content of absinthe; US brands such as absente (marketed as “absinthe redefined”) contain no thujone. Needless to say a Czech absinthe without thujone would be like a Ferrari without an engine: pretty to look at, but it won’t take you for a spin 🙂 The absinthe from the Czech Republic has some of the highest thujone levels on the market and all perfectly legal… in Europe.

This article below is another kind of defiant independent Czech spirit that never fails to amaze. Let’s go back to 1928, the age of the First Czech Republic, a time — like now — of frenetic energy and growth in the Bohemian lands….

No restriction on the sale of spirits, wines or beer exists in Czechoslovakia;* but at Prague one Michael Maresch, picturesque anti-prohibition zealot, publishes a magazine quaintly devoted to urging Czechoslovak citizens of the U. S. to foment anti-prohibitionist sentiment among their neighbors.

Because the renowned Pilsner beer industry of Czechoslovakia would profit hugely by a repeal of the U. S. Eighteenth Amendment, Zealot Maresch has long enjoyed complete toleration and some quiet encouragement by the shrewd burghers of Prague. Last week however public sentiment turned bitterly against him overnight, when he printed what was construed as an affront to the political idol of Czechoslovaks, famed Foreign Minister Eduard Benes. As everyone knows, Dr. Benes was the chief lieutenant of President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk in their heroic and successful struggle to create the Czechoslovak State during the World War.

Yet Zealot Maresch wrote of Idol Benes: “If our Foreign Minister were not an abstainer, the Czechoslovak ship of state might steer a better course.”

After so wanton a scurrility the arrest of Editor Maresch was inevitable: but he gave further provocation by declaring: “The efficiency of the police of Prague would be increased if each policeman took an occasional nip of spirits.”

Soon sober and efficient Prague police, who do not think that Dr. Benes should tipple, tope, booze, guzzle, swig or swizzle, laid heavy hands upon Michael Maresch and clapped him into a cell.

28th May 1928 Time Magazine (Zealot into Cell)

For up to date information about absinthe in modern-day USA, don’t forget our firebrand friends at the Wormwood Society: