Distillate obtained from the green amber plant called wormwood, Artemisia Absinthium. Artemisia is the name in honor of the goddess Artemis, Greek goddess of the forest: in ritual celebrations leaves of Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) and Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) were consumed as it was belived that these plants had magical powers. The birth of Absinthe is attributed to Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor exiled in a small town of Couvet, Switzerland. In 1792 he designed a recipe consisting of various herbs in an alcohol solution containing wormwood, green anise, hyssop, dittany, lemon balm and a lot of other common herbs. The drink became extremely popular among established residents of the area, which, for the medicinal properties that were attributed to it, renamed it La Fée Verte, the Green Fairy, a nickname that became famous during the Belle Epoque. On the death of dr. Ordinaire recipe passed first in the hands of the sisters Henriod and, in 1797, in those of Major Dubied that started marketing the product in the Swiss cantons of Jura and Val de Travers. The same year, Henri-Louis Pernod married the daughter of Dubied creating a union that led to the opening of the distillery "Pernod-Fils Absinthe" in Couvet and then in 1805 in Pontarlier, France. In a few years Pernod began to produce 30,000 liters of Absinthe a day with twenty-six distilleries. The Absinthe became the symbolic drink of Bohème artists, it was loved and praised by Vincent Van Gogh,Toulouse-Lautrec, Charles Baudelaire, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe and Oscar Wilde. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Europe was definitely in love with this elixir. The Boulevard Montmartre, Paris, France, smelled of Absinthe during l'heure verte, the time between 17 and 19 in which the French savored the drink. The first campaign against the Absinthe was made by the Ligue National Contre L'alcoolisme in 1907. The charge was that the Absinthe provoked a hallucinogen delirium  that  would lead to "une correspondance pour Charenton", a ticket to Charenton, insane asylum on the outskirts of Paris. In 1915 the French Government, initially in favor for using the drink as a preventive against malaria, satisfied the desire of the Absinthe enemies by declaring that the elixir was the cause of madness in the trenches and of the widespread desertion of troops during the First World War. The Absinthe was supplanting wine in Parisian cafe culture. This was mainly due to phylloxera, a small insect that in those years decimated the roots of the vines throughout France causing a significant increase in prices of the fermented grape. The French government could not allow the total collapse of a key sector such as wine and then decided to prohibit the use of Absinthe because the vineyards covered an economic position more important than the distillers of Absinthe. The Absinthe contains a chemical called thujone, very similar to the active chemical in cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It was believed that both thujone and THC exert their psychotomimetic agents interacting with a common receptor in the central nervous system, as stated by the scientist J. del Castillo, in an article published in Nature on January 31, 1975. Today we know that  thujone is a terpene that presents in various plants such as Artemisia and sage. Its scent is very similar to that of menthol and it is also found among the ingredients of some OTC drugs. At high doses it has devastating effects on the nervous system: it is difficult, however, to define these "high doses". Recent studies claim that serious consequences for human health should be found only after ingestion of 100 mg/kg thujone in a day, which equates to about 100 liters of alcohol per day. Today, the thujone content in Absinthe respects the legal parameters decided by the European Union, in fact, comparable to levels commonly found in the Absinthe of the nineteenth century: the maximum amount allowed by European law is 35 mg/l, an amount that in the past presented only in very few and very precious Absinthes, compared to an average that in 1800 was between 9 and 15 mg/l. So pure Absinthe with thujone 100% doesn't exist and has never existed.  It should be noted also that, despite the active ingredient of Artemisia is possible to find in many bitters and Vermouth, no one has ever prohibited them. The sales ban imposed in France, however, did not prevent exports. The Savoy Cocktail Book, cocktail menu at the Savoy Hotel in London, published for the first time in the '30s, is full of absinthe cocktails, like the Sazerac, invented in 1830 by Antoine, and made with 1 ¼oz Rye Whiskey, ¾oz  Absinthe, ½oz of sugar syrup, 2 drop of Peychaud's bitters. The types of Absinthe are "verte" or "blanche": the first one provides the maceration of some herbs that release aromas and chlorophyll after the distillation, while the second one does not provide such an operation and therefore remains colorless. The Absinthe verte can be defined as "herbal, floral, with a pleasant aroma of anise." The anise flavor is dry, aromatic and spicy significantly stronger than star anise, present for example in Sambuca, reminiscent the taste of licorice and is softer and mellow: it is present in the surrogates of Absinthe, not real ones. The fine Absinthe are not characterized by a dominant aroma: the aniseed green and pleasant taste of lemon and lemon balm, the freshness of mint and the mellow, round, pungent and penetrating flavor of fennel seeds leave taste the wormwood absinthum in the final with a pleasant bitter aroma and a typical balsamic characteristic. The color, passing through the many shades of green donated from chlorophyll, varies from pale yellow to olive green. The Absinthe Blanche are usually less complex and less herbal and offer more balsamic and refreshing taste, with the aroma of mugwort absinthum, anise and fennel in a way much more prominent than the "verte". The distinction just made is about the Absinthe made with original recipes, which gives rise to a very expensive drink. There are also the Absinthe that we can define derivatives, which do not have the scent of green anise, but the star anise. Many of them derive from the distillation of other products with only the addition of extract of oil of wormwood or of other plants of the Artemisia sort vulgaris  which has no active ingredient. In 1994 in France Marie-Claude Delahaye, a top expert in the world of Absinthe, founded the Museum of Absinthe in Auvers-sur-Oise, the French village where it is buried Vincent Van Gogh.  Among the ways Absinthe can be tasted we report here two the most interesting and fascinating methods of preparing it: the French or classic and the bohemian or flambé. The classic preparation includes 1 oz of Absinthe into the glass, an absinthe spoon resting on the edges of the glass with a sugar cube on it and a jug,  or a glass water cooler known with a name of "fountain of Absinthe", to dribble the icy water in an amount equal to three, four or five times that of Absinthe according to your taste on sugar to dissolve it slowly.  In this way the drink remains cool and its taste gets soften and, it is said, also increases the effects of thujone. This process also makes the color of a louche greenish-white: this is due to alkaloids presented in artemisia, otherwise is not Absinthe! The bohemian preparation differs for the use of flaming sugar: once placed the sugar cube on the spoon, pour a few drops of Absinthe on it and give it fire. The fire sweet a little the sugar, that, dripping, inflame the Absinthe in the glass. This method makes Absinthe hot and heady but even burning smells and tastes, makes lose its freshness and harmony. The real Absinthe has an alcohol volume between 45 and 75%.