Absinthe Frequently Asked Questions
"What is Absinthe?"
Absinthe is a strong alcoholic drink made with herbal
extracts of Artemisia absinthium, commonly known as
wormwood. The wormwood contains a chemical known as
thujone that is thought to be slightly psychoactive.
Absinthe was first commercialized by Henri Louis
Pernod circa 1805, it became very popular amongst
Europeans and most notably among artists Van Gogh,
Baudelaire, and Verlaine. It is thought to bring
lucidity and clarity to the beauty of nature as well
as act as an aphrodisiac.
It was ultimately banned due to pressure from powerful
wine makers who were losing substantial money form
the competition produced by the much cheaper and
easily made Absinthe. Also absinthe of old was very
high in alcohol content and often the production left
behind adulterated materials. Finally, the
possible toxic effects of extended thujone use and
social stigma led to its prohibition in most
countries in the early 1900's.
"What are the effects of Absinthe?"
First of all Absinthe is generally a very strong
alcohol (upwards of 190 proof) so that in itself
will have an effect. But it is also believed to have a
further effect due to the addition of various herbs,
these herbs contribute to the intoxicating effect. The
effects on every individual is subjective, most
describe a sense of clarity or lucidity. It is a
misconception that Absinthe will make you hallucinate
or go mad. But that said it is a much different
experience than drinking beer. One will only need one
or two glasses to feel its effects, any more and you
will just get dangerously drunk.
"How do you drink Absinthe?"
Traditional Absinthe is considered bitter and strong.
So it is traditionally diluted with cold water and
sugar. Generally you dilute 1 part absinthe with 5
The french method is as follows.
- pour one shot (approx 1oz) Absinthe into a glass.
- Then place a perforated Absinthe spoon over the
- Place a few sugar cubes on the spoon
- Slowly pour ice cold water (approx 5 oz) over the
cubes so that they melt into the glass.
- Once glass is full mix with spoon.
If you have been to Europe recently then perhaps you
have done a shot in a bar. The modern bohemian method is much
different. The modern absinthe does not need to be
diluted, they will often give you a spoon full of
sugar. You then slowly dunk the spoon into the shot to
saturate the sugar, then place on the glass and light
with a flame. This makes for a nice effect and allows
the sugar to melt. Once it has caramelized you blow it
out, mix it in the shot and drink. (This method can be
very dangerous due to the high flammability of
alcohol, DON'T BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN).
"Is absinthe legal in the U.S.?"
No. Traditional Absinthe is not legal in the U.S..
Absinthe isn't controlled as a drug but as a food
product by the FDA. It is illegal to sell Alcoholic
beverages that contain thujone that was banned as a
food additive according to Section 801A of the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of August, 1972. Thujone
is the active ingredient in wormwood used for making
Absinthe and is considered psychoactive.
Additionally it is illegal to distill alcohol (the
process of purifying a liquid by boiling it and
condensing its vapors) with out the proper licenses
from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Note
that it is legal to infuse or soak herbs in alcohol,
just not distillation.
I just saw a bottle of absinthe in the liquor store , I thought it was illegal to sell absinthe in the US?
This subject is getting complicated but yes traditional absinthe is illegal to sell. But given the thirst of Americans desire for absinthe the industry is finding a way to get it to the people. There is a chemical in traditional absinthe called Thujone, this chemical is banned in food products by the FDA. This one chemical is what makes absinthe illegal to sell.
Companies and the liquor industry have found that by filtering out this chemical they can legally sell their brand of absinthe in the USA.
Seeing dollar signs many distillers and companies are now on a public relations campaign to downplay the role of Thujone and gain acceptance of this form absinthe by the American public. Many are writing articles or launching sites that promote this new view of absinthe in an effort to gain acceptance. (READ MORE)
"What about the Absinthe in Europe?"
Absinthe is legal in many countries in Europe. But it
is not the same as the absinthe of old and many there
view it as a tourist gimmick. The European Community
Codex Committee on Food Additives has restricted the
levels of thujone to 0.5 ppm (mg/kg) in food and
beverages, 10 ppm (mg/kg) in alcoholic beverages
containing more than 25% alcohol. This is far weaker
than the 80 ppm (mg/kg) thujone level produced by our
Also note that is also illegal to have European
Absinthe shipped to the U.S. and it is likely to be
confiscated by customs.
"Is this kit legal?"
Yes, since we do not sell the kit as a food product or
an alcoholic beverage it is legal. Our kit does
contain organic chemical free wormwood/thujone. We
sell this kit as a novelty. There are no known cases
of prosecution for possession of Absinthe containing
beverages in the US. But if the consumer uses this kit
in an illegal manner it is not our responsibility.
"How does the kit work."
We sell the kit as a novelty, but if one wanted they
could use the herbal bags to infuse very strong clear
alcohol (ie everclear 190 proof) with the herbs. The
first set of herbs are used as the main source of
herbal extract. It is placed in a 1 liter bottle of
alcohol and allowed to soak for 5 days in a dark warm
place, then removed. Then the second bag could be
added to create the distinctive taste and color. This
is allowed to soak for 3 days. That's it.
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions
about our Web site.
"How much is shipping and who do you ship the packages
Shipping is just $4.95 and most packages go through
the United States Postal Services.
"How long will it take to arrive?"
Most orders are shipped the same day we receive them.
We do ask that you allow 10 days for delivery but most
packages only take about 4 days.
"Does the shipping label say GreenDevil.com?"
NO. Privacy and discretion are important to us and our
customers. All packages will come in plain brown
wrapping and the shipping Label will say that the
package is from P38 Media
"Will my credit card have a charge on it from
No your card will have a charge from P38 Media / ICS , this
is our Web site development company, This too is done
to ensure privacy and discretion.
"What countries do you ship to?"
Currently we only ship within the U.S.
"What if I do not want to order using a credit card
over the internet?"
If you would like you can order via regular postal
mail by filling out our mail in order form (click) and
sending it in along with a CERTIFIED check or money
"Who is Green Devil?"
We are a group of guys with over ten years experience as herbalists and brewers. We have been making this for years and love to share the wonderful world of absinthe with everyone.