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Glossary of Absinthe Terms

Absinth
Eastern and Central European spelling of absinthe. In common usage in Czech Republic, Germany, Holland and parts of Switzerland.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Absinthe Extrait d’Absinthe
  1. A (usually) green distilled spirit of high alcohol content, with a main characteristic flavor derived from anise, wormwood and other botanicals.
  2. Artemisia absinthium. A perennial aromatic European herb having pinnatifid, silvery silky leaves and numerous nodding yellow flower heads. The definitive ingredient in absinthe. see Wormwood

The Wormwood Society, 2012

Absinthe Fountain
A water-dispensing fountain designed specifically for providing a slow, steady drip of iced water into a glass of absinthe or pastis.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Absinthism
The condition of alcoholism and its attendant symptoms when specifically derived from the abuse of absinthe. A fictitious syndrome created by the anti-absinthe and temperance movements in the 19th century.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Absintheur
An artificial term. One who indulges in absinthe; and absinthe enthusiast.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Absinthiste
An artificial term. A victim of absinthism (i.e. alcoholism). An absinthe “addict”. Used by the anti-absinthe and temperance movements in the 19th century.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Absynth(e)
  1. An archaic misspelling of absinthe.
  2. Artificial or synthetic absinthe, made from steeped herbs and forgoing the distillation process.

The Wormwood Society, 2012

Alembic / Alambic
A usually copper apparatus used for the distillation of liquids. A pot still. From the Arabic al ambiq, meaning “the still.”The Wormwood Society, 2012
Anethole
A compound present in the volatile oils of anise, dill, fennel and star anise, among others. Primarily responsible for the “licorice” flavor and the louche effect of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Angelica
A botanical ingredient. Seeds and roots are used in the maceration of absinthe before distillation.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Anise, Anis
Herbal ingredient. Seeds are used in the maceration of absinthe before distillation. The sweet flavor is often mistaken for licorice, to which it is similar.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Aperitif
An alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Artisanal
Made by an artisan, or craftsperson; used to refer to small-batch absinthes.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Bain-Marie
A double boiler. A steam heated apparatus used in distillation. Literally “Mary’s Bath”, it was named for the ancient (possibly mythical) alchemist, Mary the Jewess.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Belle Époque
An era of artistic and cultural refinement in a society, especially in France at the beginning of the 20th century.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Besançon Map
A city of eastern France east of Dijon. Also a style of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Blanche
French. Literally, White. A clear, uncolored absinthe. See also La Bleue.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Carafe
A glass or metal bottle, often with a flared lip, used for serving water or wine. Used with absinthe to drizzle water over sugar and into the absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Clandestine
1. Conducted with secrecy; withdrawn from public notice, kept secret; hidden; private. 2. Absinthes made by amateur distillers in areas where private distillation is prohibited and therefore must be done in secret.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Coloration
In absinthe making, the step following distillation where the clear distillate is colored and further flavored by the maceration of additional herbs, such as Hyssop, Melissa, Petite Wormwood, etc.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Compounded Absinthe
Refers to any absinthe produced by the mixture of distilled spirits with substances such as flavoring extracts or essences, coloring materials, water, juice, or any kind of liquor or other ingredient in order to approximate the flavor of distilled absinthe. Considered inferior to distilled absinthes.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Cordial
A stimulant; a tonic. A liqueur.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Coriander
A botanical ingredient. Seeds are used in the maceration of absinthe before distillation.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Couvet
A town in the Val-de-Travers district of western Switzerland, home of Abram-Louis Perrenoud and Henri-Louis Pernod, the latter being the founder of Maison Pernod Fils.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Cuillere
French for “spoon.”The Wormwood Society, 2012
Distillation
1. The evaporation and subsequent collection of a liquid by condensation as a means of purification: the distillation of water. 2. The extraction of the volatile components of a mixture by the condensation and collection of the vapors that are produced as the mixture is heated. 3. A distillate.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Distilled Absinthe
Spirits with a main characteristic flavor derived from anise and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) produced by macerating natural herbs in distilled spirits and subsequently re-distilling the mixture to produce a spirit of at least 45% ABV, (90 proof).The Wormwood Society, 2012
Essential Oil
A volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained, used to make perfumes and flavorings. Not necessarily the same as an extract.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Extract
A decoction, solution, or infusion made by drawing out from any substance that which gives it its essential and characteristic virtue; also, any substance so extracted, and characteristic of that from which it is obtained; as, quinine is the most important extract of Peruvian bark.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Fennel, Fenouil
A botanical ingredient. Seeds are used in the maceration of absinthe before distillation. Like anise, fennel also has a licorice-like flavor, although less sweet and somewhat earthy.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Feuille Morte
French: Dead or fallen leaves, yellowed. Refers to the color of absinthe as the chlorophyll breaks down over time. In properly stored absinthe, away from light and temperature extremes, it can be an indicator of age, and hence increased quality.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Fin de Siecle
French for “End of the Century.” Belonging to, or characteristic of, the close of the (19th) century; hence, modern; “up-to-date;” sophisticated; world-weary; decadent.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Fougerolles Map
City in France; also a style of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Fontaine
See Absinthe Fountain.The Wormwood Society, 2012
HG
From the German hausgemacht, meaning home-made. Refers to home-distilled, non-commercial absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Hyssop
A botanical ingredient. Commonly used in the coloration phase of absinthe manufacture.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Infusion
The process of steeping a substance in water to extract its soluble principles. A medicinal preparation made by such a process.The Wormwood Society, 2012
La Bleue
Generally reserved for clandestine Swiss blanche absinthes. From French, “the blue”. Refers to the bluish opalescent tint after the addition of water. The Swiss equivalent to the term “white lightning.”The Wormwood Society, 2012
La Fée Verte
French. Green Fairy.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Liqueur
Any of various strongly flavored and sweetened alcoholic beverages typically served in small quantities after dinner. Absinthe is not a liqueur, but an aperitif.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Liquor
A high-proof alcoholic beverage made by distillation rather than by simple fermentation.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Louche
French for troubled, turbulent, disturbed, shady, of dubious character. As applied to absinthe, it refers to the cloudy, turbulent effect achieved by adding water. Less common to the French in modern times, the term often used is “troublant.”The Wormwood Society, 2012
Lyon / Lyons / Lyonaise Map
A city in east-central France. Of, or coming from, Lyons. Also style of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Macerate
To soak dried herbs in alcohol for a specified time. The product of such a process.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Melissa
A botanical ingredient. Also known as Lemon Balm.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Montmartre
Neigborhood of Paris famous for its dense concentration of cafés and cabarets, most notably the Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Montpellier Map
A city of southern France near the Mediterranean. Also a style of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Nimes Map
A city of southern France northeast of Montpellier. Also a style of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Oil Mix
See Compounded AbsintheThe Wormwood Society, 2012
Pastis
A French anise and licorice flavored liquor, usually drunk as an apéritif. Although now a respected beverage in its own right, pastis largely filled the void left by the ban of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Petite Wormwood
Botanical ingredient. Artemisia pontica, also known as Roman Wormwood. Used in maceration of absinthe before and after distillation. See WormwoodThe Wormwood Society, 2012
pernodfils
The first widely available commercial brand of absinthe produced, considered by some to be the gold standard of absinthe. No relation to modern products Pernod Anis or Pernod Extrait aux plantes d’absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Pontarlier
A frontier town of eastern France whose chief industry is the distillation of herbal liqueurs and was the center of absinthe production from 1805 through 1915. Also a style of absinthe; considered by many to be the definitive style, containing only six ingredients: grand wormwood, anise, fennel, petite wormwood, hyssop and melissa.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Pre-Ban
The era prior to the ban on absinthe, which is different in different countries: Belgium in 1905, Switzerland in 1910, the US in 1912 and France in 1915. Also, an absinthe made during this era. see also VintageThe Wormwood Society, 2012
Proof
A measure of alcoholic content equal to double the percentage, i.e. 68% = 136 proof.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Spirits
An alcoholic beverage, especially distilled liquor.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Star Anise
Botanical ingredient. Seed pods used in maceration of absinthe before distillation. Rich in anethol and makes for a strong, opaque louche.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Suisse
French for “Swiss.” Also a style of absinthe, produced by the “suisse” method, often un-colored.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Thujone
One of the active compounds of Artemesia absinthium, among other plants, such as tansy, culinary sage, tarragon, oak moss, yarrow and white cedar, or Thuja occidentalis, from which it derives its name. Read more about thujone in our Science Section.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Tincture
The resultant solution of macerating a substance, particularly an herb or herbs, in alcohol.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Val de Travers
District of western Switzerland bordering France and thought of as the birthplace of absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Veronica
An herbal ingredient used in maceration of absinthe before and after distillation.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Verre
French for “glass,” as in drinking glass.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Verte
French for “green”. A green absinthe.The Wormwood Society, 2012
Vintage
Currently existing bottles of pre-ban era absinthe. see also Pre-BanThe Wormwood Society, 2012
Wormwood
Any of many species of the genus Artemisia, the sagebrush family. Only one species, Artemisia absinthium is the definitive ingredient in absinthe; Artemisia pontica, also known as roman wormwood or petite wormwood, is often used in the coloration.The Wormwood Society, 2012