While we usually regard the ‘green fairy’ to be a European liquor, did you know that there are a range of Australian made absinthe products on the market too?
While native to Europe, the key ingredient found in absinthe is wormwood, and it grows readily across various climates, including parts of Asia, Africa, South America, and the United States. Wormwood is naturally rich in thujone, a chemical compound believed to trigger inexplicable transformations of the mind.
In the 19th century, absinthe often got the blame for what would now be viewed as outright alcoholism, but was nevertheless linked to bouts of mania, psychosis, violent and erratic behaviour. While the wormwood in the liquor was regarded as a stimulant for some, it also acted as a catalyst for a descent into lunacy for others, and eventually led to bans on absinthe right across Europe.
THE RISE OF AUSTRALIAN MADE ABSINTHE
Although it has never been illegal to import or manufacture in Australia, absinthe importation requires a permit under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulation 1956 due to a restriction on importing any product containing ‘oil of wormwood’.
However, in the year 2000, an amendment made all wormwood species prohibited herbs for food purposes under Food Standard 1.4.4. Prohibited and Restricted Plants and Fungi. This amendment was later found to be inconsistent with other parts of the pre-existing Food Code, and it was withdrawn in 2002 during the transition between the two codes, thereby continuing to allow absinthe manufacture and importation through the existing permit-based system. These events were erroneously reported by the media as it being reclassified from a prohibited product to a restricted product.
In 2021, production of the ‘green fairy’ is finally legal in Australia. However, sourcing Australian made absinthe options is often easier said than done – so what are regarded as some of the better options?
The Brewer – Mount Tamborine Distillery
The Drink – Moulin Rooz
The Story – Regarded as the first premium Australian made absinthe, ‘Moulin Rooz’ is the brainchild of Gold Coast Hinterland producers at the Mount Tamborine Distillery. Winning multiple awards around the world, Moulin Rooz is the green liquor of legends distilled with Australian botanical infusions.
The Brewer – Demoiselle Distillery
The Drink – Demoiselle Absinthe Collection
The Story – Located in the central tablelands of New South Wales, Demoiselle Distillery is regarded as Australia’s first dedicated absinthe distillery. Although the enterprise produces a range of vodka, gin, limoncello, rum and brandy products, it’s ‘top of the line’ offerings include four key absinthe products that are now stocked in bars and clubs all around Australia.
The Brewer – The Grove Distillery
The Drink – Organic Absinthe
The Story – Botanicals for The Grove’s Organic Absinthe are macerated in their triple distilled base alcohol, before being re-distilled to exclude any bitter principles and introduce the complexities and textures that we love about absinthe. The process obviously works well, as the distillery has taken home multiple domestic and international awards for their liquor.
The Brewer – Head Heart & Tales Distilling Co
The Drink – Jezebel Absinthe
The Story – Described as “a marriage of European spirit and Australian produce, turning ancient knowledge and modern principles into an intoxicating elixir”, this homegrown hero is distilled in Victoria, and is created from a single batch before being infused with the Jezebel’s ‘alchemy’ and eight botanicals.
With many of us spending more time at home than ever before, why not spend a Saturday afternoon getting creative with a bottle of this famous green liquor? While your options for consumption are all but limitless, take care that you do your research on how to drink absinthe to both properly appreciate it, and avoid a nasty headache the next day.
While you can pick up a broad variety of absinthe products at your local Dan Murphy’s, there is something special about dancing with a ‘green fairy’ that’s been crafted from scratch right here at home.