2007_11_absinthe.jpgIt’s been legal for individuals to bring absinthe into the U.S. for some time now, but only this year are authentic varieties of the spirit made with 19th-century distilling methods legal to produce in America and sell in stores. The complete end of prohibition – which, as the Times reports, has already taken place in the E.U. – is thanks in part to studies concluding that the chemical thujone, found in wormwood and often blamed for absinthe’s rumored hallucinatory effects, was barely present in historical absinthe. It’s now believed that the delirious effects reported by some absinthe drinkers may have been due to the toxic artificial coloring like copper sulfate used in cheaper brands. (Presumably imported from China.)

The Wormwood Society defines absinthe as an "anise spirit distilled from anise, fennel and wormwood." Fully authentic absinthes available on the U.S. market still contain trace amounts of thujone and the alcohol content is usually in the 110 to 144 proof range! At least five domestic distillers are readying products for the U.S.; Marilyn Manson will presumably be bringing his version of the spirit, “Mansinthe” to U.S. liquor stores and concert merch tables – it’s currently made in Switzerland with an alcohol content of 66.6%. Oh Marilyn, you devil, you!

Brooklyn’s Borisal Liquor and Wine [468 4th Ave] stocks both brands of Absinthe currently available in the U.S. (You can also order from their online catalog.) A bottle of Lucid, which is promoted as “the first true, Grande Wormwood-based Absinthe of its type available since before prohibition”, uses 19th-century distilling and will set you back $62.99.