by Jeanne Rose

Absinthe has a nasty reputation but it was not the Wormwood distillate that causes the madness but alcoholism.

Absinthe, a strongly alcoholic drink with a reputation of mythic proportions, is again in fashion, 90 years after it was banned in France and elsewhere as a cause of madness. The drink is a double infusion and double distillation. It is a potent concoction of Wormwood, Fennel, Angelic, Green anise, etc. The distillate is made and infused with herbs for 24 hours. This maceration is then distilled again in copper. The alcohol is neutral grape spirits (alcohol from grapes). The spirit obtained from this second distillation is colorless but opalescent and fragrant with a distinctive odor. More herbs are added giving it that lovely green fairy color and then filtered.

This second infusion is of green herbs such as Petite wormwood, Hyssop, Melissa, and others. It will be between 55 percent and 75 percent alcohol.

When made by a master distiller the Absinthe is both beautiful and delicious. It continues to fascinate. Several books have been written on the subject including Hideous Absinthe which focuses on two aspects of absinthe's history: its role as the elixir in the bohemian literary and artistic movements of France and Britain and the efforts made to ban the drink.

As specialty drink, it can be diluted with cognac - a combination named by Toulouse-Lautrec "the Earthquake" - and a great drink to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco Quake.

April, 18, 2006

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Jeanne Rose has been teaching and researching natural remedies for 33 years, beginning with her first book, Herbs & Things, now in its second edition.  To get in touch, to purchase the books, to understand aromatherapy, herbalism, hydrosols and essential oils, to sign up for the in-person Seminars with Jeanne Rose, visit her website at or e-mail for information at  Jeanne Rose also teaches a distance learning program, home-study courses both in Herbalism and Aromatherapy. She is Executive Director of the Aromatic Plant Project and can be reached at  You may also call 415/564-6785.

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