Food & Drinks

Absinthe — la fée verte (the Green Fairy) of Paris

It is obvious that many people no matter whether they are French or foreigners associate Paris with certain places, impressions, people and so on. For one it is Louvre, for another — Notre Dame de Paris, and for the third – … absinthe (the name «green serpent» is more than actual) which is historically possible to name one of the symbols of Paris. It has left a lot of legends; too many apartments in Paris remember its unique aroma.

Inherently absinthe is an alcoholic drink on the basis of tincture of wormwood, balm, anise and sweet fennel. However, its uniqueness is in the substance maintenance called thujone, characterized by the same influence on the brain of a person as hashish which promotes the occurrence of hallucinations. We won’t direct attention to “technical” features of this drink; we are excited with absolutely other things.

Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland was fated to become a legendary drink of creative bohemia, thanks to its original character. This wormwood tincture is so unpredictable that behavior of the person who has used it is simply impossible to guess. Without looking at lethal outcomes it attracted more and more poets, writers, musicians and artists – “decadence” representatives. Many products of these creative people have been created under influence of “green muse”.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century in Paris, absinthe on the popularity was flush with a national French drink — wine. Besides, using it they added wine in it with a view of increasing the alcoholic effect. On quality, the drink was so different, as vodka on open spaces of Russia. However, thanks to heralds of art absinthe has very quickly turned to France in a real national drink which was drunk at home, on a visit, in bars and restaurants, even on secular receptions. There is an opinion that thanks to this green drink there appeared impressionism, representatives of which aspired to see the world in its most different displays, in an unbalance and mobility, in riches of paints and shades, specific foreshortenings.

The greatest people of the world of art among whom is legendary Édouard Manet, Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso more than possibly created the best creations thanks to absinthe visions, opening new sides of consciousness.

It is necessary to recognize that in the art world there was an absinthe cult. Almost every painter in the nineteenth century devoted a picture to it. The most well-known is “A Glass of Absinthe” by Pablo Picasso who has shown on canvas a bottle of this drink by company “Pernod” (world leader of manufacture of absinthe of that time) and a glass.

Absinthe became an integral part of the Parisian life during Napoleon. At that time it was considered as an almost obligatory aperitif before supper, even the ritual action meaning the beginning of the evening. Fans of green alcohol could visit tens of institutions for an evening in each they could have drunk a glass of absinthe.

In the twentieth century among the Parisian art workers absinthe remained a life integral part. By the way, the well-known American writer Ernest Hemingway, who has lived some time in Paris, was its admirer.

However, absinthe was not exclusively “the green fairy”, quite often it led to awful things so at a given time it has been simply forbidden across all Europe. Manufacturers to remain in the market have been compelled to exclude thujone from compounding, and without it absinthe was no longer absinthe. The modern drink is already another absinthe liqueur.

Dear readers, we weren’t engaged in absinthe liqueur advertising in this article, but have considered acquainting you with this important page in the history of our favorite Paris.