Absinthe or Absinth?

Absenta… Absynthe… Those four words appear to be optional spellings for the same alcoholic beverage also known as the ‘Green Fairy’. However, the latter ones are not used as frequently as the others two. ‘Absynthe’ is also considered to be an archaic misspelling of absinthe.

ArtemisThe French word absinthe derives from the name of the very herb used in the spirit production – ‘Artemisia Absinthium’ or just wormwood. The Latin ‘Artemisia’ stands for the name of the Greek goddess of hills and forests Artemis. And ‘Absinthium’ comes from the Greek ‘Apsínthion’ which means “wormwood” or, as some people claim, “undrinkable” for the extremely bitter taste of the herb.

According to the statistics of online usage, the name ‘absinthe’ occupies the leading position with more than 3 970 000 results for key word search against of approximately 1 390 000 for ‘absinth’. It is also true to say that the latter variant is mostly usual for Eastern and Central Europe and in common usage in Czech Republic, Germany, Holland and some parts of Switzerland.

What is Absinthe

AbsintheGenerally speaking, absinthe is a distilled alcoholic beverage with a typical anise flavor and high content of alcohol – 45% to 75%. It is produced from the herb which name in Latin is ‘Artemisia Absinthium’ (or just wormwood) and which is frequently called the ‘Green Fairy’ for the original color and the believed psychic effect. The abovementioned green color comes from chlorophyll which is derived through the process of maceration – one of the drink production stages.

It’s wrong to call absinthe a liqueur because in contrast to all the latter, no sugar is added to absinthe before the bottle is corked up. However, before being served it is usually thinned with water and that is a clearly distinct feature of the stiff drink which singles it out from all the others.

As for production of absinthe, a whole variety of herbs can be used. The main ones – which are also often referred to as ‘holy trinity’ – are green anise, florence fennel and grande wormwood. Among others the following can be named: angelica root, coriander, dittany leaves, hyssop, juniper, melissa, nutmeg, petite wormwood, star anise, Sweet Flag, veronica and different herbs, vegetating in mountains.

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