Absinthe: A green-hued, high-alcohol content liqueur made with anise, fennel and grande wormwood (which contains the chemical thujone). Why it was banned: The liqueur was believed to cause hallucinations, debauchery and even madness and was banned in European countries around the turn of the last century. The U.S. joined the bandwagon in 1912. Later, a Food and Drug Administration ban on products containing thujone kept it banned. But late last year the technical ban was lifted on at least four versions of the drink that were considered thujone-free (meaning they contain no more than 10 parts per million of the chemical). Why folks dig it: Many artists believed it sparked creativity. And despite the lack of thujone (which some credit for the hallucinations), the drink has a high alcohol content. How to get it: In a cocktail called Neptune's Wrath at The Violet Hour (1520 N. Damen Ave.; 773-252-1500); in a cocktail called the Dark Angel at Lumen (839 W. Fulton Market; 312-733-2222) and in a classic presentation (Lucid Absinthe mixed with water and sugar) at L& L Tavern (3207 N. Clark St.; 773-528-1303).
Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune
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