Absinthe is Legal Again - 11 Things You Need to Know

rez-art/iStock via Getty Images
rez-art/iStock via Getty Images

1. The anise-flavored spirit derived from the herb Artemisia absinthium, also called wormwood, was first distilled in Switzerland but didn't become popular until the French got hold of it in the 19th century, when it was thought to be wonderfully hallucinogenic.
2. Wormwood, as with most every other kind of herb, was first used by the ancient Egyptians as a remedy for certain ailments (then the Greeks, then the Romans - what else is new?).
3. But it took the French, in the mid 1800s to really make it popular by giving it to army troops as a malaria treatment.
4. Soon, there wasn't a café in Paris that wasn't serving it up. According to Wiki: "By 1910 the French were consuming 36 million liters of absinthe per year, more than they drank wine."
5. According to Wired.com, German scientists have recently discovered that there wasn't really anything hallucinogenic in absinthe, but at the time, absinthe addiction was blamed for everything from causing people to become delusional and insane, to provoking epilepsy and tuberculosis.
6. For these reasons, absinthe was banned in Switzerland in 1907 and the new law was penned into the Swiss constitution.

7. Other countries followed, including the U.S. in 1912 (and France in 1915).
8. But as all things historical are also cyclical, and so absinthe made a comeback in Europe in the 1990s. Now it's back and legal in many states in the U.S. In May 2007, Viridian Spirits launched Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, the first absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood available in the U. S. in 95 years.
9. The historic reversal was the result of extensive negotiations between Viridian and the U.S. government, ultimately lifting the ban.
10. Lucid is distilled at the Combier Distillery in Saumur, France, in original antique copper absinthe stills designed by Gustav Eiffel in the 19th century and sells for around $59.99 for a 750 ML bottle.
11. It's currently legal in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Anyone tried Lucid? Give us a full report in the comments below. And if you've tried any of the other brands, legal or otherwise, we'd love to know about those, too.

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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This Board Game Teaches You to Blind-Taste Your Wine Like a Sommelier

It's OK if you play with boxed wine.
It's OK if you play with boxed wine.
Sommify, YouTube

Reading wine guides and talking to trained sommeliers might help you learn about wine-tasting, but the only real way to hone your skills is to sip a lot of wine. Finally, there’s a board game for that.

Sommify was created by husband-and-wife team Jessica Bush and Conner “Trash Palate” Taylor to give aspiring wine experts an opportunity to blind-taste in a setting that isn’t pretentious or intimidating. First, you and your favorite drinking buddies each bring a different bottle of wine to the table and conceal them in the drawstring bags that come with the game (so each person only knows the identity of the wine they brought). When it’s your turn to be “The Somm,” you pour each player a glass of your wine, and they take turns rolling dice to move through the halls of the wine cellar (i.e. the board). As they advance, they encounter locked doors that they must unlock by guessing qualities about the wine—like sight, acidity, and tannin level—which they keep track of on their scorecards.

There are also “Bottle Shock Cards,” which could help or hinder you on your journey; maybe your vineyard is tainted with smoke from a nearby wildfire, for example, and you have to hop back two spaces. The round ends when a player reaches the end of the board and correctly guesses the grape and country from which the wine came. After that, The Somm reveals the bottle and tallies up the points from all the scorecards.

The $49 game, available on Kickstarter, is expected to ship by November 2020 and even comes with a Zoom wine-tasting hosted by a Master Sommelier. And though you can definitely bring your own wine to your game night, the Sommify creators have partnered with Lifetime Vintage on two wine kits with unlabeled half-bottles of wine that are perfect for blind-tasting. It’s $75 for three half-bottles and $95 for four half-bottles, and you’ll get two $20-off coupons when you purchase the board game.

Learn more about Sommify here.