Absinthe (meaning wormwood) is an anise flavoured spirit derived from botanicals including the flowers and leaves of “Grand Wormwood”, along with green anise, sweet fennel and other medicinal herbs. This spirit is historically known as “the green fairy” due to its typical green colour, although it can also be clear.
Technically originating in The French speaking Canton/Republic of Neuchatel, Switzerland in the 18th century it was popularised in France when French troops were given it as a malaria preventative, it was also drunk particularly amongst Parisian artists and writers. Famous absinthe drinkers include Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde.
Absinthe was vilified in the early 1900’s during prohibition as a psychoactive and dangerous substance because of its dangerous levels of Thujone, a ketone that affects some of the brains pleasure sensors. However modern day absinthe only contains trace amounts of Thujone as regulated by the EU. In the 18th century, Absinthe was given to adults and children alike (with honey) as a cure for almost any illness.