Have you seen the Green Fairy yet? Regardless of whether you have actually tried absinthe, it has an intriguing history that is interesting to all. The journey of the Green Fairy began at the end of the eighteenth century with a French doctor named Pierre Ordinaire. In 1792, Ordinaire was residing in Switzerland and looking for a convenient way to administer wormwood plant extract to his patients. Wormwood, which was highly regarded for its healing abilities, is also the plant that provides thujone (which in turn is the substance that gives the Green Fairy its “perception altering” qualities).
Five years after it was originally created, Major Dubied bought the recipe for absinthe from Dr. Ordinaire. Within eight years, absinthe had become so popular that Dubied’s son-in-law, Henri-Louis Penrod, moved the absinthe production to a larger facility in Pontarlier, France. After a few years, over four hundred liters of absinthe were being produced in this facility every day.
The first absinthe craze began in in France. After the absinthe production facility was established in Pontarlier, it did not take long for absinthe to become the favorite drink of the French aristocracy. By the middle of the nineteenth century, writers, poets and artists were using absinthe to expand their creativity and find inspiration. Less than twenty years later, almost everyone in France was indulging in absinthe. A typical day began with a cup of absinthe, and ended with multiple glasses of the Green Fairy before dinner.
During this time period, absinthe crossed all class lines. Bankers, artists, members of the aristocracy and even women were able to enjoy this delightful drink. Interestingly enough, the wine shortage throughout France during the 1870s was one of the main catalysts for the spread of absinthe through the classes. Although absinthe was temporarily banned throughout France in 1915, this would not be the last time that the Green Fairy would fly…