Absinthe is Legal Again - 11 Things You Need to Know

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1. The anise-flavored spirit derived from the herb Artemisia absinthium, also called wormwood, was first distilled in Switzerland but didn't become popular until the French got hold of it in the 19th century, when it was thought to be wonderfully hallucinogenic.
2. Wormwood, as with most every other kind of herb, was first used by the ancient Egyptians as a remedy for certain ailments (then the Greeks, then the Romans - what else is new?).
3. But it took the French, in the mid 1800s to really make it popular by giving it to army troops as a malaria treatment.
4. Soon, there wasn't a café in Paris that wasn't serving it up. According to Wiki: "By 1910 the French were consuming 36 million liters of absinthe per year, more than they drank wine."
5. According to Wired.com, German scientists have recently discovered that there wasn't really anything hallucinogenic in absinthe, but at the time, absinthe addiction was blamed for everything from causing people to become delusional and insane, to provoking epilepsy and tuberculosis.
6. For these reasons, absinthe was banned in Switzerland in 1907 and the new law was penned into the Swiss constitution.

7. Other countries followed, including the U.S. in 1912 (and France in 1915).
8. But as all things historical are also cyclical, and so absinthe made a comeback in Europe in the 1990s. Now it's back and legal in many states in the U.S. In May 2007, Viridian Spirits launched Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, the first absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood available in the U. S. in 95 years.
9. The historic reversal was the result of extensive negotiations between Viridian and the U.S. government, ultimately lifting the ban.
10. Lucid is distilled at the Combier Distillery in Saumur, France, in original antique copper absinthe stills designed by Gustav Eiffel in the 19th century and sells for around $59.99 for a 750 ML bottle.
11. It's currently legal in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

lucid.jpgAnyone tried Lucid? Give us a full report in the comments below. And if you've tried any of the other brands, legal or otherwise, we'd love to know about those, too.

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June 17, 2008 - 3:34am
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