Starting today, one of the most historic drinks among Europe’s creative community returns to its original 1805 recipe. This formula—which took Pernod Absinthe two years to redevelop—uses their remaining records from the 1800s, when absinthe was sweeping the bohemian social scene.
The mix and method brings an authenticity to a drink that’s long been considered controversial; banned in parts of Europe and the US (until 2007) and altered over time. With the return of the original recipe, there is a noticeable difference in taste and color. And carrying a careful balance of herbs, Pontique wormwood, fennel and green anise, this might be as close as one can get to consuming what Van Gogh and the ilk once imbibed.
Three factors define the difference between this revived 136-proof alcohol and the absinthe most recently found on shelves. First, Pernod has returned to a grape-based neutral wine spirit instead of the present version’s neutral grain-based spirit, and has plucked all of the grapes from the Languedoc region of France—also the source for the original iteration. Grande wormwood, the defining ingredient in the absinthe experience, also hails from France—specifically Pontarlier, near the Swiss border. Finally, the absinthe’s vibrant green hue is derived entirely through the maceration of green nettles. All of these features not only draw upon the history of the spirit, but create something new again; equal parts inspiring, challenging and potent.
Creatives have long fantasized about absinthe and its role in the lives of historic and significant artists and authors. In 19th Century France, absinthe was the aperitif of choice; and after the 1912 US ban, experiencing the spirit became a challenge. Now, Pernod has made it more than a novelty by reincarnating the traditional process and the drink as it used to be—complex, herbaceous and handcrafted.
Original Recipe Pernod Absinthe for is available for $68 a bottle from selected retailers.
Image courtesy of Pernod