Earthly Mission

Absinthe: Fairy or Demon?

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When absinthe (also known as the Green Fairy) was banned in France, Switzerland, the Un­ited States and many other countries in the early 1900s, it had become associated with illicit behavior. In fact, it was accused of turning children into criminals, encouraging loose morals and inspiring murders. By today, however, it turned out that absinthe is no more dangerous than any other spirit, and its demonization by conservatives and prohibitionists was more connected to its association with bohemian culture. The following posters and pictures give an insight into the drink’s history before and after it was banned.

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Swiss poster about absinthe prohibition

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Reservoir glass with naturally coloured verte absinthe and an absinthe spoon.

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Henri Privat-Livemont’s 1896 poster

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An advertising poster for Absinthe Beucler

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L’Absinthe, by Edgar Degas, 1876

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La fin de la Fée Verte (The End of the Green Fairy): Swiss poster criticising the country’s prohibition of absinthe in 1910

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Absinthe distillation, ca. 1904

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Anise seeds

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Absinthe spoons are designed to perch a sugar cube atop the glass, over which ice-cold water is dripped to dilute the absinthe. The lip near the centre of the handle lets the spoon rest securely on the rim of the glass.

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Preparing absinthe using the traditional method, which does not involve burning.

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Slowly dripping ice water from an absinthe fountain

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The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva (1861–1928)

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Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” (1895): a poet succumbs to the Green Fairy.

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Can absinthe really make you hallucinate? Watch this video to find out:

Sources: Wikipedia, How Stuff Works



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