Maurin Quina Absinthe

Absinthe enjoys a tradition of being touted as more than just an alcoholic beverage. Fanciers compare the objects and ritual associated with the preparation and meditative nature of absinthe to the Japanese tea ceremony. To some, the absinthe ceremony is an institution of the bourgeoisie, to others, a monument to decadence. In this case, absinthe is certainly the most notorious of spirits and is as intriguing as it is misunderstood...
Despite its revival, the origins, character and contents of absinthe seem to have become obscured with the passage of time. Absinthe is a potent herbal liquor, historically ranging from 55 to 75 % (up to 150 proof) in alcoholic strength. Its infamous green tint traditionally resulted from the presence of chlorophyll, although the artificially derived colors of modern interpretations tend to vary along a glittery spectrum of green, gold, brown and even red. Sometimes pale and medicinal, other times emerald and herbal, absinthe's unique appearance contributes to its worldwide mystique.
Equally famous is the peculiar louching effects that occurs when cool water is dripped into the drink (a necessary step, as drinking absinthe neat can result in gratuitous tears and choking due to the intense taste). Upon the addition of water, the transparent green tint slowly transforms into a milky white cloud. This effect occurs as essential oils precipitate, releasing a bouquet of hidden aromas and subtle flavors.
Absinthe is distilled from anise, fennel, hyssop, melissa, juniper, chamomile, and other herbs. The herb selection, proportion, and preparation are important parts of each distiller's secret recipe. But the principal herbal constituent of absinthe is Artemisia absinthium (Grand Wormwood), a plant whose purported medicinal properties are as hotly debated as the drink itself. A perennial aromatic shrub, wormwood grows wild along roadsides, fence lines, pastures, and fallow fields. Its appearance is characterized by dark, slender, green leaves covered with soft gray hairs and velvety undersides.
In ancient times, wormwood was valued for its medicinal properties where is was employed as a vermifuge, flea and moth repellent, insecticide, digestive aid, and an aid to ease menstrual cramps. During the Middle Ages, it was believed to protect against plague and other demonic maladies. Today, in addition to absinthe, extracts of wormwood are used as counter-irritants in over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Regardless of its use throughout the years, wormwood has continually received cautionary documentation. The careless use of the herb can be dangerous, though the levels and effects of wormwood's toxicity to humans have yet to be scientifically evaluated.

- pp. 45- 47, Absinthe: Sip of Seduction by Betina J. Wittels & Robert Hermesch (2003)

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Maurin Quina Absinthe