Frequently Asked Questions

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Absinthe

Our syrups make about 15 drinks, give or take, if you follow our recipe on the bottle. Our cocktail recipes on the bottle contain one ounce of syrup.  

While it is traditional to drink absinthe with sugar through a spoon and under a traditional water fountain, also known as an absinthe fountain, it is absolutely not necessary. Because of the high quality grape ethanol that we use, our absinthe doesn't need sugar! While many people like adding sugar, we have made our absinthe with the highest quality ingredients to ensure a well crafted and delicious absinthe. There is no bitter harsh flavor that you will need to mask with sugar. Our absinthe is naturally smooth and sweet, with no artificial flavors or colors, and it is entirely gluten and sugar free! It is even vegan!
 

We have over 100 absinthe cocktail recipes here. 

Yes, Absinthia Organic Absinthe is gluten free! We start with the best grapes, biodynamic and organic, create a clear high proof ethanol, and let our organic botanicals - artemesia absinthium (grande wormwood), anise, fennel, and coriander - rest in them. Then we distill. We bottle that as our blanche. For our verte, the distilled clear absinthe is soaked in herbs and strained and bottled. That is it! No sugar, no gluten, no grains, nothing not grown organically. In fact, this absinthe is not only organic but vegan, if that is important to you. 

In order to be a true absinthe, it must contain grande wormwood, anise, and fennel. It must also be distilled, not artificially colored or sweetened, and not have any herbs floating. Absinthia Organic Absinthe meets these requirements. Our blanche simply uses grande wormwood, anise, fennel, and coriander, based on vintage Swiss recipes.

Below is a list of common herbs that can be used to make absinthe. The principal herbs or botanicals are grande wormwood, green anise, and fennel. Botanicals such as petite wormwood, hyssop and melissa give absinthe its green color. Many of the herbs used to make absinthe can be cultivated in climates that are similar to that of the Mediterranean.  

Wormwood
Latin: Artemisia absinthium. It is a member of the daisy family Compositae (Asteraceae).
Is is also called grande wormwood or common wormwood.
Use: Source of thujone and absinthe's bitterness.
Green Anise
Latin: Pimpinella anisum. It is a member of the Apiaceae family.
It is also called aniseed.
Use: Gives absinthe its licorice flavor. Counters absinthe bitterness. Helps to promote the absinthe louche.
Fennel
Latin: Foeniculum vulgare. It is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.
Use: Give absinthe its fennel and licorice flavor. Helps to counters absinthe bitterness. Helps promote the absinthe louche.
Coriander
Latin: Coriandrum sativum - It is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family.
Use: Gives absinthe a citrus spiciness.
Angelica
Latin: Angelica archangelica (or A. litoralis) It is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.
Use: Counters absinthe bitterness.
Hyssop
Latin: Hyssopus officinalis - It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family.
Use: Adds freshness, and produces the green color common in most absinthe.
Star Anise
Latin: Illicuim verum (also Illicuim floridanum and several other species) - It is a member of the magnolia family, Magnoiliaceae (also Illiaceae).
Use: Counters absinthe bitterness, enhances the louche.
Peppermint
Latin: Mentha x piperita - It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family.
Use: Adds minty freshness, and produces a vibrant green color if used to color absinthe.
Very easy groundcover to cultivate. It can become quite invasive in the garden if left alone.
Elecampane
Latin: Inula Heleniumis - It is a perennial composite plant common in many parts of Great Britain. It is also called horse-heal or marchalan.
Use: It adds a camphoraceous aroma and adds a pungent and bitter taste to adsinthe.
Dittany
Latin: Origanum dictamnus - It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family
Use: Provides a sweet-herbal taste with hints of sage and peppermint.
Easy to grow, the same genus as oregano.
Petite Wormwood
Latin: Artemisia pontica.
Also known as Roman Wormwood or small wormwood.
Use: Wormwood aromatic, mild bitterness and for coloring absinthe green.
Hyssop
Latin: Hyssopus officinalis - It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family.
Use: Adds freshness. Typically used for coloring absinthe green.
Lemon Balm
Latin: Melissa officinalis - It is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family.
Use: Used to add a lemon/citrus flavor and for coloring absinthe green. 

In the late 1800s, grape stock prices reached an all-time high, and wine was in short supply. The poor and the middle-class turned to absinthe as a cheaper alternative. Some might even say that the wide spread outbreak of phylloxera and its devastation of the French grape vines is responsible for the success of absinthe....and ultimately it's criminalization. Phylloxera was without a doubt the greatest threat to vineyards. Inadvertently imported to England and France on nursery stock between 1854 and 1860, the insects quickly invaded nonresistant Vitis vinifera grape wines throughout Europe. By the end of the 19th century, grape phylloxera had destroyed two-thirds of the vineyards on the continent. When it was discovered, it was called Phylloxera vastatrix - "the devastating louse". During the Algier War (1844-1847), the French Army made use of the medical effects of absinthe and provided the soldiers with regular rations of the liquor. When the soldiers return home to France after the war, wine was scarce and expensive due to the devastating effect of phylloxera. The veterans who had survived the war had a taste for absinthe and production had to be increased to keep up with the demand. Absinthe distilleries started to spread all over France like mushrooms. Grape phylloxera is a tiny aphidlike insect that feeds on Vitis vinifera grape roots, stunting growth of vines or killing them. Grape phylloxera damage the root systems of grapevines by feeding on the root, either on growing rootlets, which then swell and turn yellowish, or on mature hardened roots where the swellings are often hard to see. The majority of grape phylloxera adults are wingless females. They are generally oval shaped, but egg layers are pear shaped. They are small (0.04 inch long and 0.02 inch wide) and vary in color from yellow, yellowish green, olive green, to light brown, brown, or orange. Newly deposited eggs are yellow, oval, and about twice as long as wide. Nymphs resemble adults except they are smaller. The losses suffered in France as a result of the phylloxera invasion in the 1860s was considered being greater than the total cost to the French of the Franco-Prussian war. Over 2000 hectares of vineyard were wiped out in France before the reconstruction on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks began. 

What is the difference between absinthe in the US and absinthe in Europe?
A: In the U.S., thujone levels in absinthe are capped at 10 milligrams per liter, while absinthe in Europe may have 35 milligrams per liter. Modern science has estimated that a person drinking absinthe would die from alcohol poisoning long before he or she were affected by the thujone. And there is no evidence at all that thujone can cause hallucinations, even in high doses. We now know that properly manufactured absinthe — an anise-flavored, alcoholic drink — is no more dangerous than any other properly prepared liquor. The chemical that's taken all the blame for absinthe's hallucinogenic reputation is called thujone, which is a component of wormwood. In very high doses, thujone can be toxic. It is a GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) inhibitor, meaning it blocks GABA receptors in the brain, which can cause convulsions if you ingest enough of it. It occurs naturally in many foods, but never in doses high enough to hurt you. And there's not enough thujone in absinthe to hurt you, either. By the end of the distillation process, there is very little thujone left in the product. Traditional absinthe is made of anise, fennel and wormwood (a plant), and various recipes add other herbs and flowers to the mix. The anise, fennel and wormwood are soaked in alcohol, and the mixture is then distilled. The distillation process causes the herbal oils and the alcohol to evaporate, separating from the water and bitter essences released by the herbs. The fennel, anise and wormwood oils then recondense with the alcohol in a cooling area, and the distiller dilutes the resulting liquid down to whatever proof the absinthe is supposed to be (based on brand variations or regional laws). At this point, the absinthe is clear; many manufacturers add herbs to the mixture after distillation to get the classic green color from their chlorophyll. What about the tales of hallucinations, Oscar Wilde and his tulips, family massacres and instant death? Not absinthe's fault, technically speaking. Absinthe does have a very high alcohol content — anywhere between 55 and 75 percent alcohol by volume, which equates to about 110 to 144 proof. It makes whiskey's standard 40 percent (80 proof) seem like child's play, which is why absinthe is supposed to be diluted. Absinthe is not a hallucinogen; rather its alcohol content and herbal flavor set it apart from other liquors. 

Nowhere in Edgar Allen Poe's Wikipedia page does it mention absinthe. Absinthia is not sure how popular or readily available it would have been for him, a starving writer in Maryland in the early 1800s. "He died in Baltimore on October 7, 1849, at age 40. The cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to disease, alcoholism, substance abuse, suicide, and other causes." 

There are no historical references to absinthe ever containing opium. Some have said that many of the artists of the late 1800s, during France's exciting L'Heure Verte, or the Green Hour, were also smoking opium. Absinthia think this is the perfect recipe for an urban legend.  

Many stories have been told about "tripping" on absinthe. Sorry to say, not only is absinthe not an hallucinogen, the chemical thujone, that is barely present in both vintage and modern absinthes, is more of a convulsant. That is not Absinthia's idea of a fun evening!The terrifying hallucinations reported in early, hospitalized absinthe abusers were most likely due to the withdrawal symptoms of acute alcoholism: alcoholic hallucinosis, or, the DTs.  While some of the botanicals used have a mild stimulant effect (aniseed and fennel), there are no psychedelic or hallucinogenic ingredients in authentic absinthe, now or in the past. 

First, let's describe what absinthe is: distilled beverage made with artemesia absinthium (wormwood), anise, and fennel. While there is no legal definition, most absinthes in the US contain the same ingredients and are similar to pre-ban absinthe in composition, style, and flavor.  This is possible in part because modern analysis has demonstrated that the compounds blamed for absinthe's alleged harmful effects were not present in pre-ban absinthe in the large amounts previously assumed.  Modern absinthe made strictly according to pre-ban recipes has been analyzed and found to be more or less identical to actual pre-ban absinthe. There are faux absinthe brands being sold as genuine, so buyer caution is advised; be well-informed! 

No. Van Gogh drank absinthe, as it was quite common amongst the artist crowd of his time. Research has shown that absinthe of Van Gogh's time, like modern absinthe, did not contain enough thujone to cause anyone to cut off their own ear. Further, it doesn't seem feasible to be as prolific an artist as Van Gogh was if he really drank that much. Van Gogh had serious mental illness. This is the reason he cut off his ear. Absinthia has spent some time in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam seeking a connection of absinthe and Van Gogh's ear, and there isn't one. 

Absinthia Organic Absinthe - No sugar needed! Absinthia believes that absinthe should taste delicious. Well balanced, not too bitter, not too harsh. She feels that many absinthes require sugar to mask the flavor. Absinthia Organic Absinthe is well crafted with certified organic ingredients and has a natural sweetness. She recommends 2.5:1 cold water to absinthe without sugar 

The louche effect is the name given when water is added to absinthe that turns the liquid white. The science behind it is quite normal and tends to happen when adding essential oils to water. Effectively, what happens is that the water is reacting with a hydrophobic chemical in the reaction. This effect was first described by Wilhelm Ostwald in 1896 and is known as the Ostwald Ripening effect. Absinthe fans call it the louche. The Osatwalk Ripening effect occurs when an added ingredient creates a reaction that no longer puts the initial compound in equilibrium either due to the PH level, temperature, or common ions changing (the ability for the alcohol to bond with the oil). As alcohol and water share relatively the same PH level, the biggest changes in the louche effect occur from temperature. Colder absinthe will cloud up faster than warm absinthe. As more cold water is added, the louche will become increasingly clear. 

Absinthe is soaked in herbs (traditionally petite wormwood, This step involves steeping plants such as petite wormwood, hyssop, and melissa (among other herbs) in the distillate. Chlorophyll from these herbs is extracted in the process, giving the drink its famous green color. 

Absinthe blanche is bottled right from the still without the coloration from natural herbs. We love how absinthe blanche was made popular during the absinthe bans, because you couldn't tell it was absinthe, just a clear liquid! 

Once distilled, absinthe comes out of the still beautifully clear. This is bottled to produce Absinthe Blanche. This clear absinthe may also be soaked in herbs to add color and flavor. (Note that absinthe must not be artificially colored to be a true absinthe). While Absinthe Verte (green) is traditional, we have also enjoyed Absinthe Rouge and barrel aged absinthes. 

NO! I mean, please don't. Lighting absinthe on fire really damages it, and we work very hard to craft a high quality, organic absinthe. It was never traditional, either. Lighting absinthe on fire was started in Eastern Europe in the 1990s as a way to gain attention and sell it illegally on the internet. We have lots of absinthe cocktail recipes on our site. Please refer to these and keep your matches in your pocket! 

Our absinthe is 55% ABV, or 110 proof. 

Absinthe was a victim of its own success. During a period of phylloxera and struggles in the European wine market, absinthe came to Paris and instantly became a favorite of cafe life. In fact, happy hour in Paris bars, cafes and cabarets of mid 19th-century Europe was called L'Heure Verte, or green hour. When the wine industry roared back, anti absinthe propaganda was the easiest way to get the people to put down their absinthe and drink wine again. Modern science proved absinthe was already legal and so it was allowed for sale again in the US beginning March 5, 2007. No laws needed changing and no ban was lifted. In fact, it is very likely that absinthe had been legal since the repeal of prohibition. 

That's simple: the quality and location of our ingredients. We only use certified organic 

Absolutely! Some of the best classic cocktails include absinthe. We have over 200 absinthe cocktail recipes on our recipe page, and we feature them on our social media all the time. A few favorites are the Sazerac, the Corpse Reviver No 2, the Tuxedo No 2, and Death in the Afternoon, which is a refreshing Champagne or Prosecco topped with absinthe. 

A traditional way to enjoy absinthe is as a louche. We like Absinthia Organic Absinthe with 2.5:1 cold water:absinthe. Because of the ingredients we use, our absinthe is never harsh or bitter. Absinthia Organic Absinthe, no sugar needed! 

While the US government does not offer a legal definition of absinthe, the absinthe community agrees that absinthe must be distilled, must contain wormwood, anise, and fennel, must be fully strained, unsweetened, and not contain artificial coloring. 

Absinthe is made with bitter tasting wormwood, refreshing and citrusy coriander, and sweet, licorice like anise and fennel. Our absinthe has a natural sweetness to it. With its organic ingredients and elegant mouth feel, we like to think of it as a fresh fennel salad! 

Legally, You can't make real absinthe at home or in a commercial bar. 

We use certified biodynamic grapes to create our ethanol, along with certified organic wormwood, fennel, anise, and coriander. We distill and bottle on the biodynamic grape farm. 

Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage (45–74% ABV / 90–148 U.S. proof). It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood"), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs. 

Absinthe has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Recent studies have shown that absinthe's psychoactive properties have been exaggerated, apart from that of the alcohol. Authentic absinthe contains only minute traces of thujone. The highest thujone levels so far detected in pre-ban samples is 48.3 mg/L, the lowest was "none detected." 

Syrups

Once opened, it is best to refrigerate all syrups to extend their shelf life. If your bottle hasn't been refrigerated, check for mold growth, or gas escaping when you open it. If neither of these conditions exist, your syrup is safe to use, just put it in the fridge if you aren't going to use it all at once.  

Medium spicy. Though we use Ghost Pepper, one of the world''s spiciest chilis, to bring the heat to Caged Heat, a little goes a long way. It is seductively spicy. The heat shows up towards the end of the sip at the back of the throat and hangs out a bit for a lingering finish. It makes you want to go again and again for that little rush.  

Though similar, licorice, fennel, and anise taste quite different and have different intensities. Fairy Dust is more like a fresh fennel salad. It's light and bright, floral and heavenly. We hear time and again from folks who tried it that they didn't think they liked that flavor, only to find out that they love it.  

No, we don't. We're sorry. We haven't found a good alternative yet. Someday. 

The Fine Print

All syrup orders are processed and shipped within 2-3 business days. Orders are not shipped or delivered on weekends or holidays. If we are experiencing a high volume of orders, shipments may be delayed by a few days. Please allow additional days in transit for delivery.

Orders are sent using USPS Priority Mail and UPS Ground. Orders should be received within five business days after processing. You will be notified via email when your package ships. Please allow 24-48 hours for tracking information to appear. Should you not receive your package within 7 business days from your order, please contact us using the contact info below. 

SWAG & BAR TOOLS:
Our swag and bar tools are produced and fulfilled by third party vendors. They are located all over the world and can take 2-4 weeks to arrive. They will ship separately from the syrups and sometime from each other. 

ABSINTHE:
Please see shopabsinthia.com  

Email Our mailing address is:
PO Box 24935
Oakland, CA 94623-1935 

SYRUPS:
We only use natural ingredients. We don't use chemicals, or preservatives. Each syrup has a slightly different ingredient list, but they all contain some version of Invert syrup, water, natural flavors, and extracts. 

Invert Syrup is regular sugar (sucrose) that has been converted by enzymatic hydrolysis into fructose and sucrose. We use it to prevent our syrups from crystalizing. It is used in many baking recipes and is as natural as the sugar it comes from. All of our syrups are gluten free and alcohol free.

ABSINTHE:
We use all organic ingredients. These include organic grapes, artemesia absinthium, anise, fennel, coriander, and other botanicals. All our absinthes are gluten free. 

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It will not. Our products that contain wormwood contain less than 10 parts per million of thujone, as required by the FDA. For the record, pre-ban Absinthe will not cause hallucinations. This has always been an urban legend. You can learn more about absinthe here 

Crimson Smoke's unusual and intense aroma comes from Lapsang Souchong, a cedar smoked black tea. It's a surprising experience, but if you like Mezcal, or the peated whiskies of the islands of Scotland, then you should be well primed for this ride.  

Nope. Cherry Bomb has the flavor of coffee, but not the caffeine.  

We hope that you'll try it our way first just like the recipe on the label says, but after that, go nuts, get creative, impress us. Send us your creations with photos and commentary at info@nickeldimesyrups.com or tag us on your posts. We love seeing that shit. 

If you want your cocktail to taste the best it can, yes, fresh is best. If all you've got is bottled juice, then go ahead, just don't look at us when you do it.  

The use of egg whites in Whiskey Sours has gone in and out of fashion over time. Jerry Thomas who published the first cocktail recipe book didn't include it in his recipe, but many of his contemporaries did. Today, whether your whiskey sour has egg white in it will depend on the bartender making it. We personally love egg white sours, but for Caged Heat, it became easier to explain what kind of cocktail it was by calling it a spicy whiskey sour even though it doesn't call for egg. We highly encourage you to use egg white, or it's vegan counterpoint aquafaba with any of our syrups if that appeals to you.  

Think your local store should carry Absinthia's products? Requests are a fantastic way to do this. Just tell them what you would like them to carry and have them shoot us an email 

It has been said that absinthe makes people go mad, blind, epileptic, and apparently it could even infect you with tuberculosis or turn you into a criminal. This is all nonsense, of course, but there has to be a reason why that many people believe in those myths. Absinthe was very popular in the 1800s. There was a broad range of different absinthes available - some where sincere, honest products, some were cheap, badly made products that shouldn't even have entered the market. They were made with methanol and were seriously dangerous for the human body. A similar problem was caused in the United States during Prohibition. Unregulated and untested alcohol can lead to serious problems when people take advantage of the situation for profit. Determining between toxic, cheap and often dangerous copies of absinthe and true absinthe must have been extremely difficult for both the society and the government of the 19th Century. However, real absinthe, consumed moderately of course, is only as harmful as any other alcoholic spirit. 

One of Absinthia's favorite hashtags is #thujoneisfakenews. Read on to find out why! Though it is best known as a chemical compound in absinthe, thujone is unlikely to be responsible for absinthe's alleged stimulant and psychoactive effects due to the small quantities present in both vintage and modern absinthes. Modern absinthe made strictly according to pre-ban recipes, such as Absinthia Organic Absinthe, has been analyzed and found to be more or less identical to actual pre-ban absinthe. Modern analysis has demonstrated that the compounds blamed for absinthe's alleged harmful effects were not present in pre-ban absinthe in the large amounts previously assumed. While alcohol is classified as a drug itself, absinthe contains no other components that would differentiate it from any other form of alcohol in that sense. Thujone, the primary volatile oil in wormwood, is present in only in trace amounts in abs inthe due to its resistance to distillation and is safe at these levels. The “100mg thujone” and “extra strong” hype on many absinthe retail sites is a marketing gimmick. The role of thujone in the so-called “secondary effect” is greatly exaggerated, as is the effect itself. The similarity in effect to THC was an untested conjecture in the mid-1970s and is unsupported by later studies. Thujone is a dangerous neurotoxin at large concentrations and is NOT a hallucinogen or a psychedelic and has no reasonable recreational potential. In order to determine thujone content, an official method for thujone analysis was prescribed. Although the information has been published and accessible since the 1960s, prior to 2007 it was not widely known that the threshold of tolerance—the fudge factor—for this method was ten parts per million, about 10 mg/L. This effectively legalizes most absinthes, since authentic absinthe contains only minute traces of thujone in the first place. The highest thujone levels so far detected in pre-ban samples is 48.3 mg/L, the lowest was "none detected." Many pre-ban era absinthes would be legal in the US today by modern government standards. Discovering this was a major breakthrough for absinthe in the US. Many absintheures, then, understand that asking the quantity of thujones in a true absinthe, one properly made with artemisia absinthium and distilled, is not an important question. Absinthia Organic Absinthe, despite using a large amount of fresh, organic absinthe, passed federal formula tests at less then 10 ppm. This is because the wormwood is distilled, and these are the same results as vintage absinthes. Many thanks to Wikipedia and Absinthia's friends at the Wormwood Society for their excellent research 

Though it is best known as a chemical compound in the spirit absinthe, it is unlikely to be responsible for absinthe's alleged stimulant and psychoactive effects due to the small quantities present. Thujone acts on GABA as an antagonist (opposite to the effects of alcohol). As a competitive antagonist of GABA, thujone alone is considered to be convulsant, though by interfering with the inhibitory transmitter GABA, it may convey stimulating, mood-elevating effects at low doses. It is also used in perfumery as a component of several essential oils. In the past, absinthe was thought to contain up to 260–350 mg/l thujone, but modern tests have shown this estimate to be far too high. A 2008 study of 13 pre-ban (1895–1910) bottles of absinthe using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) found that the bottles had between 0.5 and 48.3 mg/l and averaged 25.4 mg/l. A 2005 study recreated three 1899 high-wormwood recipes and tested with GC-MS, and found that the highest contained 4.3 mg/l thujone. GC-MS testing is important in this capacity, because gas chromatography alone may record an inaccurately high reading of thujone as other compounds may interfere with and add to the apparent measured amount.
 

Many pre-ban era absinthes would be legal in the US today by modern US government standards. No laws have changed, and no ban has been lifted. Absinthe has been technically legal since at least the 1960s, possibly as early as the 1930s. Contrary to claims made by some companies, federal bureaucrats were not pressured into legalizing absinthe, it was merely demonstrated to them that it was already legal. Due to changes in the understanding of these regulatory issues on the part of both the agencies and the producers, genuine absinthe is once again available legally in the US.