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The Green Fairy

By Ale Coyote |

Absinthe was known as “The green fairy” because it’s said to alter the mind. Try it in your next trip to Amsterdam.


“After the first glass, one sees things the way one would like them to be. After the second glass, one sees things as they are not. Finally, one ends up seeing things as they are, and that’s the most wonderful yet terrible thing that can happen,” said Oscar Wilde, the famous author of The Portrait of Dorian Gray who defined in his works some of the effects of absinthe, an alcoholic drink that has caused such controversy that it’s forbidden in some countries.


DINKtravelers knows that you like to try only the best in alcoholic beverages including the finest wines and liquors; that’s why you can’t miss the experience of trying absinthe, with its strong taste and its licorice aftertaste. They say that this wormwood liquor of intense green color alters the mind and the senses while it also provokes sensations of joy and triggers the imagination. Its prohibition in countries like Switzerland, as well as its restricted distribution in Italy, the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium is due to the belief that it may cause strong hallucinations. In other countries like Mexico, they allow its distribution, however, the version you’ll find there has 40% less alcohol content.


Long ago, the Egyptians used wormwood as a medicinal herb that served as an antiseptic, a tonic and a diuretic. This tradition continued well into the Middle Ages. Later, around 1518, in the territory that is now part of the Czech Republic, wormwood liquor –which would become the main ingredient of this mysterious drink– was invented at the Palirna U Zeleneho Stromu house. It was first used as a remedy for respiratory problems, toothaches and inflammation. Yet, centuries later, thanks to the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), it became popular in the rest of Europe. Curiously, it was served at 5:00 p.m. in hip French coffee shops. Everyone waited for that hour so eagerly that it became known as “The Green Fairy Hour”.


If you buy a bottle of absinthe –it has an 89.9% alcohol content– we recommend pouring a one-ounce serving in a sherry glass and then placing a pierced spoon on the glass opening with a sugar lump in the center. Pour an extra squirt of absinthe on the sugar lump. Then, burn the lump with a lightener until it melts. Finally, add fresh water until the glass is full.

In your next trip to the Netherlands, apart from visiting the canals and the best museums, don’t miss the chance to try absinthe and tell us your story. Above all, remember this article when you visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, because it’s said that some of the dark and pale green colors that this famous painter used in some of his works were inspired by his consumption of absinthe.