Thursday, May 01, 2008

Green Fairy

Phill enjoys the occasional cocktail. Recently, a friend introduced him to the Sazerac. I find it too harsh to drink, but I've never been much of a hard liquor person, unless you are talking about a tequila shot with the lime and salt at a baseball game. Of course, the tequila, smuggled in via an overlarge bag of popcorn, was served in a Dixie Cup. Well, let's cover that another time.

So, the Sazerac used to be prepared with a coating of the glass with absinthe, a spirit with a bad reputation of bringing the "green fairy" or the "green muse". Artists, writers, and the like saw absinthe as a way to connect with inner creativity. Its supposed psychedelic effects led to a ban in most countries by 1915.

Recent analysis of absinthe demonstrate that the psychedelic effect arose from the high amount of alcohol, not from the small amount of thujone contained in absinthe.
However, the study found relatively small concentrations of thujone, amounts less than previously estimated and not sufficient to explain absinthism. Thujone levels in preban absinthe actually were about the same as those in modern absinthe, produced since 1988, when the European Union (EU) lifted its ban on absinthe production. Laboratory tests found no other compound that could explain absinthe's effects. "All things considered, nothing besides ethanol was found in the absinthes that was able to explain the syndrome of absinthism," according to Lachenmeier.

Now, you can enjoy absinthe, legal in Europe and in the U.S., without bringing on the green fairy. I'm still not going to indulge in a Sazerac. I'll opt for something else.

1 comment:

dragon knitter said...

the mind is an amazing thing. maybe it's because of the purported effects that the "test subject" self-induces these effects? a thought, anyway.