Famous Absinthe Drinkers: Literature

Throughout the history absinthe has been the favorite drink of many outstanding and often eccentric people: writers, artists, musicians, actors, revolutionaries etc. However, it seems that those, who devoted their lives to literature, were most inspired by the ‘Green Muse’. Among the latter one could name:

Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley.
Crowley is famous for writing “The book of law”. He was known to be a loyal lover of the ‘Green Fairy’, as well as a heroin and opium addict.

Arthur Rimbaud
Arthur Rimbaud.
Being considered one of the greatest French poets, Rimbaud was also famous for drinking a great amount of absinthe and maintaining a homosexual relationship with Paul Marie Verlaine.

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire.
He referred to the ‘Green Fairy’ in his well-known poem “Get drunk” and was believed to be an avaricious absinthe drinker.

Aphrodisiac Beliefs about Absinthe & Advertising

One of the commonly spread beliefs about absinthe is that it produces an aphrodisiac effect and numerous absintheurs are absolutely positive about it. Is it just a myth or a fact based on scientific research?

Absinthe Effects

One who has ever heard of absinthe might have been impressed by the legend about the effects it produces. It is believed that absinthe differs from any other alcoholic drink due to the so-called ‘secondary effects’, which include hallucinations, irregular eyesight sensitivity to light and colors, euphoria and a feeling of lucid inebriation.Absinthe Drinker

Many find the issue of absinthe ‘secondary effects’ the most controversial one, since there is little evidence, which moreover lacks credence. The effect produced by a good absinthe can vary from person to person, but it is usually no more extraordinary than from drinking any other hard liquor: the drinker gets into the state of the “buzz”, senses pointed clarity of mind and vision. This condition ceases within 20 to 30 minutes and many drinkers report that they don’t experience anything out of the ordinary at all, but the regular effects the alcohol has.

Classic French Absinthe Ritual

Absinthe Preparation

To begin with there has never been any other alcoholic drink that would be prepared so thoroughly and carefully. Even the poorest laborer in the lousiest bar would take their time to give the absinthe ritual a proper attention. There is no place for rush as far as absinthe is concerned.

Many years ago, when absinthe was not banned in any country and could be easily ordered in almost any bar or restaurant, a waiter would serve it with ice cold water and sugar separately, leaving the preparation of it up to the customer’s preference. It is true to say that due to the presence of the wormwood (‘Artemisia Absinthium’ in Latin) all absinthes possess a flavor bitter to some extent that is why they are commonly served with adding sugar.

Absinthe in Old Times

Funny it is, but ancient absinthe was somewhat different from that of Verlaine and Picasso’s contemporaneity, since it was delivered through maceration of wormwood leaves in wine and used for medical purposes solely. One could say that ‘Artemisia Absinthium’ (Latin name for wormwood) is one of the most ancient herbs used in medicine.

HippocratesThus, Hippocrates recommended taking absinthe to alleviate jaundice, rheumatism, anemia, and menstrual pains, and Pythagoras prescribed it to aid labor in childbirth. One of the Roman scholars, Pliny the Elder by name, proclaimed the liqueur to be a youth elixir as well as a remedy for bad breath. In England in 16th and 17th century the herb was believed to protect against plague, so wormwood was used in the same way as garlic in horror films about vampires – people decorated their doors and windows with it, as well as the ceiling rafters.

However, time passed and ‘Artemisia Absinthium’ and spirits from it became more than just a medicine for various diseases. It is know that by 1559 independent entrepreneurs organized absinthe production from dry wormwood leaves soaked in a liquid containing equal amount of malmsey wine and the so-called “burning water thrice distilled”.

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