Summer Guide: How To Make Your Own Absinthe

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You'll need:750 ml. 100-proof vodka or Bacardi 151

1 oz. wormwood (do NOT buy powdered wormwood, which creates a black, undrinkable sludge )

1 tsp. angelica root

1 tsp. hyssop

1/4 tsp. cardamon pods

1/2 tsp. coriander Seeds

1/2 tsp. anise seeds

1/4 tsp. caraway seeds

Though fancy liquor stores sell bright-green booze in bottles labeled "Absinthe," it's not the real deal. Actual, bona fide absinthe is illegal to sell in the U.S., as it contains a chemical called thujone, produced by wormwood, which is banned in food products by the FDA. Thujone is also what gives absinthe its narcotic properties--though the effects are closer to those of THC than LSD. Sorry to dash those bohemian-artist dreams of yours, but you're not drinking the real stuff.

However, wormwood itself can be found if you look hard enough (or just buy it online); I actually used to get it from a witchy little shop in Long Beach. Just for the hardcore absinthe-aficionado wannabes, here's the recipe for the moonshine version of the Green Fairy--obtained from an "Absinthe Professor" at Burning Man (totally legit). It's pretty rough, though, and might have some crazy side effects if you drink too much (like going blind or cutting off your ear), so have a friend try it first.

Written by Erin DeWitt.

Illustrations by Colin Hayes.

Published on May 22, 2012

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