Absinthe references

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archive Thru March 2002: Archive thru January 2002:Absinthe references
By Don_Walsh on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 12:20 pm: Edit

Oj yes, ban that dangerous salicaldehyde, after all, it metabolized to that hideous toxic filth we know as...the same thing aspirin metabolizes to. Salicylic acid.

And that horrible methyl salicylate, oil of wintergreen, it's a good thing the French Academy of Medicine was around to save the world from the harsh enslavement of this demonic substance.


By Luger on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 12:37 am: Edit

>Absinth is of a most seductive character, and its >victims are as helpless almost as those addicted to >the alcohol

Was this not written just before you had your own ban of all alcoholic beverages?


By Artemis on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 05:51 pm: Edit

"The victims of absinth are more to be pitied, as a rule, than those of alcohol, opium or cocain."

Now that's what I call a scientific evaluation. It's almost as objective as a "news" piece by Dan Rather.

"Fortunately, absinth habit has not gained any great vogue in the United States, and it is hoped that ... there may be such a rigid control of traffic in absinth as to amount to prohibition"

This article was written in 1919? At that time Absinthe had already been prohibited in the U.S. for what, seven years? Was this guy writing from another planet or a dungeon?

Most of the info under "Kinds of Absinth (sic)" is plagiarized (and poorly, at that) from Duplais; I recognize all of it except the bastardized explanation of Swiss absinthe. It wasn't called Swiss because it was made near Switzerland, but because it was made by a process which was reputed to be Swiss.

It's also worth noting (again) that proper absinthe is not now, nor was it ever, a liqueur. Liqueurs contain sugar. Absinthe does not. Properly considered it is an alcoholic herbal extract.

By Mr_Carfax on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 04:51 pm: Edit

Reference 2

Beverages and Their Adulteration – Harvey W Wiley M.D, 1919


Definition (p 384)

Absinth is an alcoholic liqueur which takes its name from the botanical name of wormwood, Artemisia absinthium. This is a perennial plant which is indigenous to Europe and Northern Africa. It is cultivated to some extent in the United States in limited localities in New York, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant are used for the extraction of the drug. The active principle is a volatile oil, of which the leaves and dried flowering tops contain about 0.5 of 1 percent. The oil is of a dark blue or greenish color, has a bitter lasting taste, and consists essentially of a substance known as absinthol in various forms of combination. There is also a bitter principle, probably a glucoside, known as absinthin. Absinth is of a most seductive character, and its victims are as helpless almost as those addicted to the alcohol or opium habit. The continued drinking of considerable quantities of absinth seems to break down the morale, sometimes paralyzing, or deranging digestion and general health, and reducing the victim to complete subjugation. The victims of absinth are more to be pitied, as a rule, than those of alcohol, opium or cocain.

Kinds of Absinth (p385)

As liqueurs, the extracts of absinth are divided into four classes, makely, ordinary absinths, demi-fine absinths, fine absinths and Swiss absinths. The latter are sub-divided into absinths of Pontarlier, or Montpelier and of Lyon.

Ordinary absinths are the kind known only in Paris and other large cities. They are generally manufactured, as are the demi-fine absinths and the fine absinths, by the rectifiers. Ordinary absinthe is represented by the following formula:

Clean and dry grounds absinth 2.5 kg
Dry Hyssop 300 grams
Dry citronated balm-mint 500 grams
Green anise 2.0 kg
85 percent alcohol 16.0 liters

These ingredients are infused for 24 hours in a suitable vessel, 15 liters of water are added, and distilled until 15 liters of the product are secured. To this 15 liters are added to 40 liters of 85 percent alcohol and 45 liters of water. The product amounts to 100 liters with an alcoholic strength of 46 degrees;. It is mixed and allowed to stand until clear. Filtration is not necessary in the manufacture of absinths. After standing for 48 hours they clarify themselves.

Extracts of Swiss absinth do not necessarily imply that they are made in Switzerland but they are made in that part of France to the south and east near Switzerland. They are manufactured particularly in large quantities in the cities of Pontarlier, Montpelier and Lyon.

Different flavouring and coloring materials are used in different liquids, but the absinth remains the principle ingredient.

Adulterations (p386)

Absinths of bad quality are often made, some of them manufactured without distillation and with essences to replace the plants and seeds which are used in the genuine process. There are others which are distilled with crude alcohol of beets, the taste of which leaves much to be desired. Other absinthes are made by adding aromatic resins after distillation.

Absinth Poisoning (p386)

The symptoms which attend the excessive or prolonged drinking of absinth are extremely revolting. The effects which the patient undergoes are perhaps more pronounced than in the case of addiction to the use of alcohol, opium or cocain. The physical and mental deterioration goes on much more quickly in the case of absinth poisoning than in the case of the use of alcohol, and the disease maintains its characteristic symptoms, which are marked principally by epileptoid attacks, and by delerium and hallucinations, followed by specific paralysis of the lower extremities. Absinth is regarded as the most injurious and dangerous of the alcoholic concoctions which are commonly used as drink amongst the people.

Action of the French Academy of Medicine (p387)

The whole subject of essences was studied by the French Academy of Medicine, and they were divided into two chief classes.

First, these essences which present a character particularly noxious; these being subjects of the absolute prescription.

Second, those of a relatively inferior degree of toxicity, of which the use may become dangerous, and, therefore, they are subjects of special regulations.

Amongst the essences which should be excluded from beverages entirely, according to the report of the Academy of Medicine, are the following:

Grand absinth
Small absinth
Queen of the Meadow
Salicylic aldehyde
Oil of Wintergreen
Mythl salicylate
Stones of fruit containing benzoic aldehyde and prussic acid, such as bitter almonds.

The French Academy of Medicine makes the following comment on the first category:
“This category comprises the principal essences entering into the fundamental composition of liqueurs, especially those which are so commonly advertised as aperitifs (appertisers); they constitute the most dangerous class f beverages, and at the same time are those which predominate in habitual consumption. It is sufficient to place at the head of the list of these essences, that one merits the position in every respect, but especially by its superior toxicity and characteristics, namely absinth.”

(concluding remark on p 390)

Fortunately, absinth habit has not gained any great vogue in the United States, and it is hoped that before such an unfortunate state of affairs as existed in France arrives, there may be such a rigid control of traffic in absinth as to amount to prohibition

By Mr_Carfax on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 04:49 pm: Edit

Here ya go peoples..I'll break it into two posts for the two references..sorry about the length, as it is I was selective about the sections I transcribed to minimise bandwidth hogging..it is probably no worse than posting a graphic though I guess....

Reference 1 (Maybe containing the lost secret recipies of Sebor and Swills)

Chemistry and Technology of Wines and Liquors by Karl M Hernstein and Morris B Jacobs (2nd ed) 1948

Absinthe- First Quality

Wormwood 28 lb
Hyssop 6 lb 8 oz
Lemon Blam 6 lb 8 oz
Anise, green 40 lb
Chinese aniseed 12 lb
Fennel 16 lb
Coriander 8 lb
Alcohol (90%) 80 gal
Water 25 gal

Macerate for 48 hours. Distill. Color with an infusion of wormwood and green herbs.

Cream of Absinthe – First Quality “Synthetic”

Essence of absinthe 45 min
Essence of English Peppermint 45 min
Essence of anise 4 dr
Essence of sweet fennel 1 dr
Essence of distilled lemon 4 dr
Alcohol (85%) 4 gal
Sugar 45 lb
Water to make 10 gal

Average Quality Absinthe

Essence of absinthe 45 min
Essence of English Peppermint 45 min
Essence of anise, green 4 dr
Essence of fennel 1 dr
Essence of lemon 4 dr
Alcohol (85%) 2.5 gal
Sugar 10 lb
Water to make 10 gal

(and just for interest I’ll add this recipe…..)

Angelica- Excellent Quality

Angelica Root 10 lb
Angelica Seed 8 lb
Coriander Seed 1 lb
Fennel 1 lb
Alcohol (90%) 28 gal

Macerate, distill and rectify to 36 gallons after addition of water. Add 400lb of sugar in syrup and make to 100 lb with distilled water.

By Zman7 on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 10:08 am: Edit

Yes please, if you can copy and post would be greatly appreciated. If not only from a practicle, but an interesting historical standpoint.

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 08:37 am: Edit

Paris-Tempo absinthe article

Sorry if it's old news...

By Wolfgang on Tuesday, January 08, 2002 - 06:27 am: Edit

Interesting. Please copy (scan ?) the distilled recipes with the process and everything.

By Mr_Carfax on Monday, January 07, 2002 - 10:24 pm: Edit

I was at one of the university libraries today when my eye was caught a couple of old books on the shelf. A bit more investigation of both revealed some interesting bits and pieces regarding absinthe, and I was curious whether forumites have come across these references previously?

Chemistry and Technology of Wines and Liquors by KM Hernstein (Consulting Chemist, New York City) and MB Jacobs (Senior Chemist, Bureau of Food and Drugs, Dept Health, New York City)- first published 1935.

- contains a few absinthe recipies by both distillation and "synthetic" production ie essential oils

Beverages and Their Adulteration (Origin, Composition, Manufacture, Natural, Artifical, Fermented, Distilled, Alkaloidal and Fruit Juices) by HW Wiley MD - 1919 (US published)

- contains definitions of absinthe styles, manufacture, adulteration, history, poisoning, health effects.

The latter is quite interesting from a historical perspective given the publishing date- I'll transcribe the section on absinthe when I get a spare hour.

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