Is Absinthe Safe to Drink?

Is Absinthe Safe to Drink?

Exploring the Safety of Absinthe: What You Need to Know

Absinthe Robette Lithograph 1898 by Georges Privat-Livemont

Absinthe Robette Lithograph 1898 by Georges Privat-Livemont 

by MCAD Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Absinthe has been a beloved and sought-after drink by the most artistic and creative minds of our time. However, its complex and misunderstood reputation has caused some to believe that this spirit is harmful to consume.

I have been both enjoying and making Absinthe for over 20 years now. I spend much time educating consumers and dispelling the myth that Absinthe is a nefarious spirit. I'm constantly addressing fact from fiction when presenting about Absinthe. One of the more frequent questions I receive is, "Is Absinthe safe to drink?"

Read on to find out more!

Absinthe Drinking: Separating Fact from Fiction

TAMAGNO, Francisco. Absinthe Terminus Bienfaisante, c. 1890s.

Terminus/Absinthe bienfaisante c. 1890s by Francisco Tamagno

by Halloween HJB is marked with CC0 1.0

Fiction: Absinthe will make you hallucinate & is illegal to drink

Fact: Absinthe is perfectly safe to drink & it is legal

Once upon a time, Absinthe got a bad reputation thanks to some savvy propaganda campaigns. 

These campaigns focused on the wormwood in the bottle, and ever since there's been a lot of commotion surrounding wormwood. 

Artemisia absinthium, also known as grande wormwood, is one of the three herbs that create the unique flavor of Absinthe. Fennel and aniseed complete the flavor profile, known as the holy trinity of herbs. 

Absinthe's popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries was due to many factors. But its popularity benefited from the collapse of the European wine industry, which struggled to produce wine thanks to a disease called Phylloxera that wiped out grape vines. 

Eventually, the wine industry recovered, and when they were ready to return to the market, they found that consumers were more interested in Absinthe because it had a cool ritual, tasted amazing, and was cheaper than wine. They had to find a way to make Absinthe less appealing, so they focused on the fact that wormwood produces a chemical compound called thujone.

Thujones are a group of chemical compounds found in various plants, including wormwood. Thujones are often associated with alleged psychoactive effects. Cue the perfect formula for an anti-Absinthe campaign where Absinthe became associated with hallucination!

This moral panic period was also fueled by the temperance movement. They did clever things like renaming alcoholism “absinthisim.” They enjoyed sending drunks to the insane asylum and when those drunks dried out and returned home, they were told to drink wine because it was healthy.

Check out these blog posts for more details

1. The rise & Fall of Absinthe Propaganda Posters

2. 5 Things You Should Know About Absinthe

It's a fact that Absinthe is perfectly safe to drink. Do you know why? Because it has undergone rigorous research by modern scientists and has been proven safe to drink! Scientists have confirmed that the chemical compound thujone is absent from Absinthe once it is distilled. This research also indicates that the levels of thujone in Absinthe are generally too low to produce significant psychoactive effects. In high doses, thujones can be toxic, but the amounts present in Absinthe are typically considered safe for consumption.

Let me set the record straight: wormwood is neither a drug nor a poison. It is simply an herb. And it's perfectly safe to consume. You can find it in other delightful beverages like amaro and vermouth.

Now that you know some facts, I hope you enjoy this enchanting spirit!

Are you ready to enjoy Absinthe?

Try a sample pack featuring my Absinthe Blanche, Absinthe Verte, and Barrel-Aged Absinthe!

 Absinthia Absinthe Gift Packs

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