I had absolutely no idea that today (March 5th) was National Absinthe Day. It had completely escaped my attention – until now.

I was wasting time carrying out some blog research when I came across this headline and decided to find out more. Up to now my only ‘experience’ of absinthe was through studying certain French poets and novelists, including Rimbaud, Verlaine and Baudelaire. They felt that Absinthe helped to stimulate them and their work.

Many famous artists, including Picasso and Degas, featured Absinthe in their paintings.

Picasso – Absinthe Drinker
Degas – Absinthe Drinker

Here are 10 random facts about absinthe:

  • Absinthe is often referred to as the ‘Green Fairy’
  • It originated in Switzerland in the 18th century
  • It has a strong liquorice flavour and a high alcohol content
  • Anise, wormwood, fennel and other herbs are infused in alcohol to make the drink
  • Absinthe is supposed to have had hallucinogenic effects, although more recent research has suggested that this is not accurate
  • It was banned in France in 1914
  • In 2011 the French Senate voted to repeal the prohibition of absinthe
  • Sazerac, created in 1838, was an absinthe ‘rinse’ swirled around the glass and then discarded
  • Absinthe flavoured cocktails are making a comeback.
  • ‘Death in the Afternoon’ is absinthe plus champagne

I have never tasted Absinthe although I could be tempted to sample the ‘Death in the Afternoon’ cocktail, if I was forced!

As far as I know, National Absinthe Day is not celebrated in France. I think it is more likely to be a marketing ploy to boost sales of the drink! What do you think?!