Absinthe: The Green Fairy and Ritual of La Louche

Absinthe is a green colored drink with high alcohol along with several medicinal, herbal and culinary content.

Absinthe is also known as “la fee verte” in classic historic literature. Translating as “the green fairy”, this drink is associated with historic icons like Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe and many more. With a heavy alcohol content of 45 to 74% ABV, absinthe is popularly considered as an addictive psychotic drug and a hallucinating agent. In fact, in 1915, it was banned throughout several European countries as well as in the US.

However, this 18th century drink has a rich heritage. It was first produced in Neuchatel of Switzerland. It became ingrained in popular bohemian culture after being related to famous icons of art and literature. As of now, Absinthe is a rare and classy drink with almost 200 brands popular across French, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, Czech Republic and several other countries.

La Louche is the ritualistic process of adding cold water in Absinthe through lumps of sugar.

Absinthe is primarily prepared from flowers and leaves of Grand Wormwood, an ornamental plant that grows in Eurasia. It comprises of green anise, sweet fennel and several other medical and culinary herbs. It is more common as spirit as it is not bottled with added sugar.

Although, drinking absinthe involves traditional methods, in modern days, it is being used as a refreshment drink in parties as well as with dinner. A traditional way is to louched with water referred to as “Absinthe ritual of La Louche”. It is the process of adding iced water to dilute the drink. After dilution its color will change from emerald green to a lighter shade of milky green. Water is poured over a lump of sugar on a perforated spoon on the top of a glass of the drink. This practice is considered as a ritual of liberating the ‘green fairy.’

La Louche has a strong symbolic relevance, related to rituals related to Absinthe.

La Louche has a symbolic relevance. While on the process, the transformation is clearly observed. It is compared to liberation of the mind as water liberates the essence of absinthe. It is believed, this ritual releases the true Green Fairy out of the drink. The Pontellier glass is used to drink Absinthe. The spoon used is called absinthe spoon, which has a traditional shape. It is recommended that 3 parts of water is poured in one part of this alcohol. As cold-water flows through the glass, the drink would release the essence of oil and herbs. This ritual makes absinthe a complex drink.

Apart from ritualistic drinking of Absinthe, there are many other ways of enjoying this drink. There are several stories and legends surrounding this drink. There are believes that absinthe provides out of body experiences. It is certainly worth a try.