I’m ashamed to say that this is the first Food Holiday so far this whole year I did not celebrate.  Absinthe, the green alcohol made from wormwart, was once believed to believed to drive its consumers mad and was banned in The United States until only three years ago.  And already it has its own National Holiday.

Absinthe was created in 1792 by French doctor Pierre Ordinaire.  It was an extract of the wormwood plant.  It was created for potential medicinal purposes, but was sold commercially in 1797 as a spirit by Major Dubied and his son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod who bought the recipe from Dr. Ordinaire.  The alcohol exploded in popularity!  It became a drink of the upper class, and spread to every class.  Even woman partook in the drinking of absinthe.  Artists, and writers took what became known as “The Green Fairy” for creative inspiration in their work.  By the late 1800’s due to a blight in grape crops for wine, absinthe took the working class by storm by being an affordable alcohol.  By the end of the 19th century  Europe and France especially was drinking millions of litres of absinthe a year.

Absinthe had a place in American culture as well, being most popular in New Orleans.  But legend has it that absinthe caused a man to go absolutely mad, and become intoxicated beyond belief and was banned from being sold in The United States until only 3 years ago.

The drink is slowly making a popular comeback, and its green color makes it fitting to have a holiday so close to St. Patrick’s Day.  But it is still difficult to come by; its not sold at the near by liquor stores, and its not too common behind the bar.  Unfortunately, to celebrate I had this green bagel instead of drinking the spirit.

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