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.

The first step of the production process is maceration of wormwood, anise and florence fennel in alcohol which gives an awfully bitter substance. Next, it is being distilled and exposed to further maceration in order to add color, since the result of distillation is uncolored liquid. At this very stage the producer has a whole variety of options: the derived can be bottled blank, be colored with man-made or natural colorant. So that to achieve the latter such herbs as hyssop, melissa and petite wormwood are soaked in the liquid. As a result the producer gets the traditionally colored green absinthe called verte. Though not usual, it is also possible to produce rouge or rose absinthe by soaking a red blossom or herb in the distillate.

After the spirit is colored, it is being thinned with water to achieve the necessary percentage of alcohol, since the original clear distillate has around 72% ABV.

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