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History Articles

Carafes Frappées: Iced Decanters

Here is an interesting collection of articles detailing the use—often depicted in absinthe advertising and art of the 1800s—of carafes containing large chunks of ice, frozen inside the carafe.  Read about innovations in refrigeration and how these carafes were produced without breaking the glass. Consumption of Ice in Paris Journal of the Society of Arts, 1866, […]

An Early Absinthe Club, 1876

An excerpt from a pamphlet published by the U.S. Brewer’s Association, ‪A Solution of the Temperance Problem‬, ‪Proposed by the Government of Switzerland‬ references a late 19th century absinthe drinking club.

Absinthe Frappé – Absinthe In Music From 1904

The humorous song Absinthe Frappé comes from the Broadway musical, It Happened In Nordland. A musical comedy in two acts with a prologue, it was set in the fictional towns Kronenberg and Elsa Bad in the equally fictional country of Nordland.

By The Absinthe Route – From an anthology of travel stories

Here are excerpts from By the Absinthe Route, Chapter 10 of the entertaining and true account of Lewis R. Freeman’s yachting expedition of the South Pacific, entitled In the Track of the Trades.  These passages are interesting for their portrayal of absinthe drinking and the style of preparation in the far-flung French outpost of Tahiti […]

Poisons of French Liqueurs

Results Of An Investigation Undertaken By The Alcohol Commission Of Paris In The Interest Of Public Health The alcohol commission of Paris recently made an important report to the academy of medicine of the same city with reference to spirituous liquors, the report having been prepared by Professor J. V. Laborde. The academy of medicine […]

FOOD INSPECTION DECISION 147 – The US Ban on Absinthe

This is the complete text of Food Inspection Decision 147, which effectively banned absinthe by declaring wormwood a deleterious food additive, a position which, as modern science has demonstrated, is unfounded in fact.

Duplais Distillation Manual – Absinthe

Duplais Distillation Manual – Absinthe Considered by many to be the official canon of 19th century French distilling practice, this English translation of Duplais’ 1855 treatise, Traité de la Fabrication des Liqueurs et de la Distillation des Alcools, Chapter 9, The Manufacture of Swiss Absinthe, details the most common recipes and processes involved in making […]

Newspaper, 1885. MANUFACTURES OF SAN FRANCISCO

Newspaper, 1885. MANUFACTURES OF SAN FRANCISCO Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Monday, September 14, 1885; pg. 4; Issue 136; col E

Newspaper, 1860. Warnings of effects of absinthe abuse

Newspaper, 1860. Warnings of effects of absinthe abuse Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Friday, May 04, 1860; Issue 23; col B

Newspaper, 1868. The Absinthe Drinkers of Paris

Newspaper, 1868. The Absinthe Drinkers of Paris Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, (Bangor, ME) Friday, May 29, 1868; Issue 130; col B

Newspaper, 1861. Absinthe and its Poisonous Effects

Newspaper, 1861. Absinthe and its Poisonous Effects Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, (Milwaukee, WI) Thursday, April 04, 1861; Issue 81; col D    

Newspaper, 1868. Health warnings

Newspaper, 1868. Health warnings New-Orleans Commercial Bulletin, (New Orleans, LA) Monday, June 01, 1868; Issue 135; col F  

Newspaper, 1870. Absinthe Origins of Vermouth

Newspaper, 1870. Absinthe Origins of Vermouth Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Friday, February 11, 1870; Issue 108; col C    

Newspaper, 1861. The Absinthe Ogre

Newspaper, 1861. The Absinthe Ogre   Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Saturday, June 01, 1861; Issue 48; col A

Absinthium: a nineteenth-century drug of abuse

Absinthium: a nineteenth-century drug of abuse College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky 40506 (U.S.A.) / (Received May 12,1980; accepted February 28, 1981) The 1850s and 1860s in France have been described as a “gilded age”. “It was a parvenu period: get rich quick, show off, enjoy. Gamblers, profiteers, and demimondaines held the center […]

Absinthe: what’s your poison?

Absinthe: what’s your poison? Published in the British Medical Journal Though absinthe is intriguing, it is alcohol in general we should worry about. Absinthe, the emerald green liqueur associated with excess, is back in business. Having been banned in many countries in the early 20th century, its newly fashionable image, combined with global purchasing opportunities […]

The Illness of Vincent van Gogh

The Illness of Vincent van Gogh Published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2002 Abstract Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) had an eccentric personality and unstable moods, suffered from recurrent psychotic episodes during the last 2 years of his extraordinary life, and committed suicide at the age of 37. Despite limited evidence, well over 150 […]

Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome

Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome Abstract Absinthe, a bitter spirit containing wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), was banned at the beginning of the 20th century as consequence of its supposed unique adverse effects. After nearly centurylong prohibition, absinthe has seen a resurgence after recent de-restriction in many European countries. This review provides information on the history […]

Behaviour of thujone during distillation

Behaviour of thujone during distillation and possible concentration ranges in pre-ban absinthe.

19th Century Distiller’s Manuals

Have you ever wondered how absinthe was made?  How about other rare or obscure European spirits?

Newspaper, 1870. Absinthe Origins of Vermouth

Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Friday, February 11, 1870; Issue 108; col C

Newspaper, 1861. Absinthe and its Poisonous Effects

Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, (Milwaukee, WI) Thursday, April 04, 1861; Issue 81; col D

Newspaper, 1868. Health warnings

New-Orleans Commercial Bulletin, (New Orleans, LA) Monday, June 01, 1868; Issue 135; col F

Newspaper, 1868. The Absinthe Drinkers of Paris

Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, (Bangor, ME) Friday, May 29, 1868; Issue 130; col B

Newspaper, 1861. The Absinthe Ogre

  Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Saturday, June 01, 1861; Issue 48; col A

Newspaper, 1860. Warnings of effects of absinthe abuse

Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Friday, May 04, 1860; Issue 23; col B

Newspaper, 1885. MANUFACTURES OF SAN FRANCISCO

Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Monday, September 14, 1885; pg. 4; Issue 136; col E

1910 Encyclopaedia Britannica Entry – Absinthe

ABSINTHE, a liqueur or aromatized spirit, the characteristic flavouring matter of which is derived from various species of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Among the other substances generally employed in its manufacture are angelica root, sweet flag, dittany leaves, star-anise fruit, fennel and hyssop. A colourless “alcohólate” is first prepared, and to this the well-known green colour […]