Mental Floss

The Quick 10: 10 Absinthe Drinkers

Stacy Conradt
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I'm having a 1920s-themed party for my birthday in a few weeks and was all excited to serve old fashioned 1920s-style drinks. I thought it would be a perfect excuse to try out absinthe, which I have wanted to do ever since the tamed-down stuff was legalized in the U.S. a couple of years ago. Alas, a little research has dashed my hopes, because absinthe was declared illegal long before the Roaring Twenties hit. But if I ever do get the chance to give it a shot, I'll be in good (crazy?) creative company:

MANSINTHE
MANSINTHE /

4. Van Gogh is rumored to have chopped his ear off during an absinthe binge. Some research has suggested that it's even the reason that he used so much yellow in his works "“ thujone, a component of absinthe back in the day (it's not in the legal stuff in the U.S. these days), has been shown to fuel creativity and cause yellow-tinged vision.

5. Emile Zola favored the green beverage to distract him from all of his personal troubles. Even so, he knew what the drink could do if abused: in "L'Assommoir," he wrote about an absinthe addict who "stripped himself stark naked in the Rue Saint-Martin and died doing the polka."

LAUTREC
LAUTREC /

9. Aleister Crowley loved absinthe, but that's no surprise "“ he tried (and enjoyed) just about every hallucinogen in the book, including laudanum, opium, cocaine, mescaline and heroin.

10. Even past presidents were known to imbibe the emerald from time to time. America's most famous absinthe joint (arguably) was the "Old Absinthe House" in New Orleans, which was renamed The Absinthe Room when new management took over in 1874 and began serving "French-style" absinthe. The Room boasted a celebrity clientele that included both Roosevelts and William Howard Taft, plus Oscar Wilde, P.T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Jenny Lind, Enrico Caruso, Robert E. Lee, Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra. It's still there today.

Have any of you ever tried it? Is it good or gross? Should I just save my money?

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