The two main types of absinthe are verte and blanche, green and clear. Immediately after distillation the spirit is clear and can be bottled as a blance; vertes are traditionally coloured green by infusing the spirit with more botanicals before bottling.
In theory, it could do, but in reality it is highly unlikely. The chemical in absinthe that can cause hallucinations is called thujone, a component in wormwood. However, the levels of thujone in absinthe are so low that it would take a huge quantity of absinthe to have any effect.
Before you leave for your trip abroad, you might want to talk to CBP about the items you plan to bring back to be sure they're not prohibited or restricted. Prohibited means the item is forbidden by law to enter the United States. Examples of prohibited items are dangerous toys, cars that don't protect their occupants in a crash, bush meat, or illegal substances like absinthe and Rohypnol. Restricted means that special licenses or permits are required from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the United States. Examples of restricted items include firearms, certain fruits and vegetables, animal products, animal by products, and some animals.
The importation of absinthe is subject to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations (21 C.F.R. 172.510 and the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations (27 C.F.R. Parts 13.51, 5.42(a), and 5.65. The absinthe content must be \"thujone free\" (that is, it must contain less than 10 parts per million of thujone); the term \"absinthe\" cannot be the brand name; the term \"absinthe\" cannot stand alone on the label; and the artwork and/or graphics cannot project images of hallucinogenic, psychotropic or mind-altering effects. Absinthe imported in violation of these regulations is subject to seizure.
Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in the late 18th century. It rose to great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. The consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists, partly due to its association with bohemian culture. From Europe and the Americas, notable absinthe drinkers included Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Lewis Carroll, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, and Alfred Jarry.
Absinthe has often been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. The chemical compound thujone, which is present in the spirit in trace amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria-Hungary, yet it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Recent studies have shown that absinthe's psychoactive properties (apart from those attributable to alcohol) have been exaggerated.
A revival of absinthe began in the 1990s, following the adoption of modern European Union food and beverage laws that removed long-standing barriers to its production and sale. By the early 21st century, nearly 200 brands of absinthe were being produced in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
The precise origin of absinthe is unclear. The medical use of wormwood dates back to ancient Egypt and is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus, around 1550 BC. Wormwood extracts and wine-soaked wormwood leaves were used as remedies by the ancient Greeks. Moreover, some evidence exists of a wormwood-flavoured wine in ancient Greece called absinthites oinos.
The first evidence of absinthe, in the sense of a distilled spirit containing green anise and fennel, dates to the 18th century. According to popular legend, it began as an all-purpose patent remedy created by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Couvet, Switzerland, around 1792 (the exact date varies by account). Ordinaire's recipe was passed on to the Henriod sisters of Couvet, who sold it as a medicinal elixir. By other accounts, the Henriod sisters may have been making the elixir before Ordinaire's arrival. In either case, a certain Major Dubied acquired the formula from the sisters in 1797 and opened the first absinthe distillery named Dubied Père et Fils in Couvet with his son Marcellin and son-in-law Henry-Louis Pernod. In 1805, they built a second distillery in Pontarlier, France, under the company name Maison Pernod Fils. Pernod Fils remained one of the most popular brands of absinthe until the drink was banned in France in 1914.
New Orleans has a cultural association with absinthe and is credited as the birthplace of the Sazerac, perhaps the earliest absinthe cocktail. The Old Absinthe House bar on Bourbon Street began selling absinthe in the first half of the 19th century. Its Catalan lease-holder, Cayetano Ferrer, named it the Absinthe Room in 1874 due to of the popularity of the drink, which was served in the Parisian style. It was frequented by Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Aleister Crowley, and Frank Sinatra.
Edgar Degas's 1876 painting L'Absinthe can be seen at the Musée d'Orsay epitomising the popular view of absinthe addicts as sodden and benumbed, and Émile Zola described its effects in his novel L'Assommoir.
In 1905, Swiss farmer Jean Lanfray murdered his family and attempted to kill himself after drinking absinthe. Lanfray was an alcoholic who had drunk a lot of wine and brandy before the killings, but that was overlooked or ignored, and blame for the murders was placed solely on his consumption of two glasses of absinthe. The Lanfray murders were the tipping point in this hotly debated topic, and a subsequent petition collected more than 82,000 signatures to ban it in Switzerland. A referendum was held on 5 July 1908. It was approved by voters, and the prohibition of absinthe was written into the Swiss constitution.
In 1906, Belgium and Brazil banned the sale and distribution of absinthe, although these were not the first countries to take such action. It had been banned as early as 1898 in the colony of the Congo Free State. The Netherlands banned it in 1909, Switzerland in 1910, the United States in 1912, and France in 1914.
The prohibition of absinthe in France eventually led to the popularity of pastis, and to a lesser extent, ouzo, and other anise-flavoured spirits that do not contain wormwood. Following the conclusion of the First World War, production of the Pernod Fils brand was resumed at the Banus distillery in Catalonia, Spain (where absinthe was still legal), but gradually declining sales saw the cessation of production in the 1960s. In Switzerland, the ban served only to drive the production of absinthe underground. Clandestine home distillers produced colourless absinthe (la Bleue), which was easier to conceal from the authorities. Many countries never banned absinthe, notably the United Kingdom, where it had never been as popular as in continental Europe.
British importer BBH Spirits began to import Hill's Absinth from the Czech Republic in the 1990s, as the UK had never formally banned it, and this sparked a modern resurgence in its popularity. It began to reappear during a revival in the 1990s in countries where it was never banned. Forms of absinthe available during that time consisted almost exclusively of Czech, Spanish, and Portuguese brands that were of recent origin, typically consisting of Bohemian-style products. Connoisseurs considered these of inferior quality and not representative of the 19th-century spirit. In 2000, La Fée Absinthe became the first commercial absinthe distilled and bottled in France since the 1914 ban, but it is now one of dozens of brands that are produced and sold within France.
In the Netherlands, the restrictions were challenged by Amsterdam wineseller Menno Boorsma in July 2004, thus confirming the legality of absinthe once again. Similarly, Belgium lifted its long-standing ban on January 1, 2005, citing a conflict with the adopted food and beverage regulations of the single European Market. In Switzerland, the constitutional ban was repealed in 2000 during an overhaul of the national constitution, although the prohibition was written into ordinary law, instead. That law was later repealed, and it was made legal on March 1, 2005.
The drink was never officially banned in Spain, although it began to fall out of favour in the 1940s and almost vanished into obscurity. Catalonia has seen significant resurgence since 2007, when one producer established operations there. Absinthe has never been illegal to import or manufacture in Australia, although importation requires a permit under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulation 1956 due to a restriction on importing any product containing \"oil of wormwood\". In 2000, an amendment made all wormwood species prohibited herbs for food purposes under Food Standard 1.4.4. Prohibited and Restricted Plants and Fungi. However, this amendment was found inconsistent with other parts of the pre-existing Food Code, and it was withdrawn in 2002 during the transition between the two codes, thereby continuing to allow absinthe manufacture and importation through the existing permit-based system. These events were erroneously reported by the media as it having been reclassified from a prohibited product to a restricted product.
In 2007, the French brand Lucid became the first genuine absinthe to receive a Certificate of Label Approval for import into the United States since 1912, following independent efforts by representat