la fée verte
absinthe in English
What is "Absinthe"?
Absinthe is a French word – you may not realize this, but there is no ‘th’ sound in French, so if you want to be authentic, say it with a hard ‘t’ sound on the end. The ‘i’is also quite different sounding – because it is followed by an ‘n’. This turns it into what is known as a ‘nasalized vowel’ – if you pronounced the ‘-sin-‘ like ‘sand’ without the ‘d’, you’d pretty much nail it. Of course you can opt for ye old Englishe pronunciation, although you do lose some of the allure of the word.
What is Absinthe exactly?
‘Absinthe’ proper is a spirit based mainly on wormwood, and anise, but it also contains several other herbs. It was banned in the early 20th century for its alleged strong and addictive effect, due mainly to a compound in wormwood called ‘thujone’, although it seems that the narcotic effects of wormwood were vastly exaggerated, and the symptoms easily explained by alcoholism.. Nowadays, Absinthe is again being manufactured and sold on a small scale, and it’s popularity is increasing especially in the Steampunk community.
Absinthe – The Green Fairy
Absinthe is traditionally served by pouring it into a glass over which a special spoon is suspended. A sugar lump is placed on the perforated spoon, and cold water is trickled through it to sweeten and dilute the absinthe. The water renders absinthe a milky green color. The ritual is an essential part of the drink, which is also known as ‘la fée verte’, or ‘the green fairy‘ in French. Drink it at your own risk – in the words of Oscar Wilde:
“After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
Absinthe’ is pronounced ‘absinth’ in English. The French pronunciation given.
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