Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Forget Iraq

In Modern Drunkard Magazine, of course.

“Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable and so terrible?”—Aleister Crowley

Let me be mad, mad with the madness of Absinthe, the wildest, most luxurious madness in the world.” —Marie Corelli

“Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like absinthe, muddles it.” —Alfred Jarry

Got tight last night on absinthe. Did knife tricks.” —Hemingway

Nearly a century after its near global ban, absinthe is making a dramatic comeback. Most members of the European Union now allow the sale of absinthe, with limit of 10 milligrams of thujone per kilogram (some of the absinthes of yesteryear boasted up to six times that amount). You can buy it in grocery chains in the Czech Republic and in liquor stores in Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan. Bars and restaurants in Britain began serving it when they discovered it was never formally banned in the country. Activists in France are trying legalize it, claiming modern production techniques have removed the dangers that were present in 1915.

Closer to home, it recently became legal in the Canadian province of British Columbia. In the U.S., thujone is still banned, but as a food rather than a drug. You aren’t allowed to distill or commercially make absinthe, but you can legally own a bottle and even make your own so long as it isn’t distilled.

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