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Green Fairy
Absinthe









Introduction


Important Tips:

  • Absinthe may eat through some types of plastic. Store Absinthe in an air-tight glass container.
  • Absinthe is usually over 150 proof. Always dilute it with a non-alcoholic mixer
  • Absinthe is flammable. Use with care.
  • Homemade Absinthe can be extremely nasty. Always dilute it with a non-alcoholic mixer
  • Absinthe may be nasty, but you'll find that the more you drink the less you'll care!
  • The effects of Absinthe's "other" ingredients do not last as long as the effects of alcohol. So if you drink your absinthe too slowly, you're not going to feel anything but the Alcohol.
  • Try to get through your first glass within 10 minutes. The longer you let it sit, the warmer (and nastier) it gets. Plus, as I stated above - You'll get a better buzz if you drink it quickly.
  • Homemade Absinthe can be pretty bitter, so ignore your taste buds. They are your worst enemy.
Green Fairy
My first experience with absinthe was on Halloween, 1997. I had read about this green liquor in a magazine article, and I looked forward to trying it for myself. But unfortunately, Absinthe has been banned in the U.S. since the early 1900s. So, the only legal avenues for procurement involved a flight to Europe - something that wasn't really an option. But I wasn't about to let a little leftover piece of prohibition come between the green fairy and me. The article said that it was possible to make your own absinthe, but unfortunately the article did not include the recipe. So, I was forced to scour the Internet in search of the recipe. At the time, I was only able to find a couple recipes.

The thing that concerned me was both of the recipes involved the use of a still. I realize that this the only "proper" way to make absinthe is by stilling the mash, but I wasn't too interested in the prospect of accidentally creating a bomb, so I decided to skip that step. If you do not still your absinthe, your end product with end up having a more "herbal" taste, but this can generally be overcome by adding more Anise.

In the beginning, I had a hard time finding a few of the ingredients. So I was forced to improvise. Of course, my first batch was all wrong - horribly wrong. I couldn't find Everclear, so I substituted vodka. I couldn't find Anise extract, so I used the Essential oil of Anise instead.

What I ended up with was a raunchy brown liquid. Not only did it taste nasty, it really didn't give you much more than an alcohol buzz. But, if at first you don't succeed...

So I'm glad to say that 40 batches later, I finally have come up with something that taste halfway decent -- Well, at least it taste good to me. And recently, it has improved to the point where I think it taste pretty close to the "professionally" made stuff, but I think my absinthe works a little better ;)


It's quite possible that I have just gotten used to the taste. But it doesn't matter - I don't drink it for the taste. I drink it for the effects.

It is difficult to describe exactly what absinthe does to you. The effects are mild when compared to some other drugs available out there, but are very nice none-the-less. The best way I can describe the effects of drinking 5 glasses of absinthe is that it is similar to drinking several shots of liquor, eating a single mushroom cap, and smoking a tiny amount of opium at the same time -- For the most part it just gets you drunk, but it also gives you a nice, warm, relaxing, slightly narcotic buzz.

As most people already understand, different alcohols will give you a slightly different kind of buzz. Absinthe is no exception. But I think the secondary effects of Absinthe are a little more obvious than with other Alcohols. You'll just need to try it for yourself to understand what I'm talking about.




My own Personal Recipe

And now, without further adieux here is my own personal recipe for absinthe. This section explains how to make absinthe, and how to drink it. I hope you enjoy!



Absinthe Absinthe (Bluehouse Recipe)

1.5 oz Wormwood
1/3 oz Hyssop
1/3 oz Calamus Root
1/8 oz Fennel Seed
1 tsp Mint *
1 tsp cloves *
1 tsp coriander *
1/2 tsp Nutmeg *
2 Star Ansise fruits*


Mortar and Pestle First, Grind the Fennel Seeds, Coriander, and Cloves with a mortar and pestle.

Mix with the rest of the dry ingredients (wormwood, hyssop, calamus, and mint) and pour them into an airtight container. Mix with a bottle of Everclear (750ml, 190 proof). Actually, if you want to end up with a full 750ml of Absinthe, you'll need to use about 1000ml of Everclear in order to compensate for the alcohol that is irrevocably lost to absorption by the mash. You should allow mix to steep for at least two weeks, but I usually allow for 1-2 months. This is most likely overkill, but I dont drink absinthe on a regular basis so Im not generally in a big hurry to finish my next batch.


At the end of the two weeks, strain the liquid through a thin cloth (muslin or a handkerchief) to remove the solid matter.

Anise and Mint Now Add:

1/2 Dropper full of Wormwood Essential Oil.*
1/3 - 2/3 Bottle of Anise Extract (To taste)
1 tsp Mint Extract *
2-10 shots Ouzo* (To taste)



Prepare to meet the green fairy!


If Everclear is unavailable, I've heard that rum 151 will suffice - although I've never tried it myself. However, regular-strength alcohols (less than 100 proof) will not work! - Your absinthe will turn out brown. Ack!


Wormwood Extract The ingredients marked with a "*" are not completely necessary, but will help make the drink more palatable. (It needs all the help it can get!) If you wish, you can mix this absinthe half-n-half with Ouzo and obtain a drink that tastes halfway descent, but you'll lose some of the potency of the drink. The best way to improve the taste is to add more anise extract, but even this has its limits.


If you add more calamus, you will get a better buzz -- but this will come at a price. I used to use 1/2 oz of calamus in my earlier recipes -- but I would end up with a 12-hour hangover the next day. I eventually figured out that the calamus was to blame, and cut back on it a bit. But of course, feel free to experiment with it yourself!


Absinthe Bottle
Finished Product




Now for the fun part... Drinking it.



I would not advise drinking this recipe 'neat'. In its pure form, it is extremely nasty, extremely potent, not to mention extremely explosive (It is 190 proof, after all!)


I normally drink it the traditional way. Fill a glass with ice. Pour 1 shot of Absinthe into the glass. Set 2 sugar cubes on a slotted spoon (or fork) over the glass. And finally, SLOWLY pour cold water over the cubes to dissolve the sugar into the absinthe. Be sure to pour ONLY the water over the cubes. If the cubes soak up the Absinthe they will dissolve more slowly. I have found that it also helps to "pre-soak" the cubes on the spoon for about 10-15 seconds before you pour in the rest of the water.


This site shows a similar method, but recommends igniting the absinthe-laden cubes to caramelize the sugar. I have tried this method, but have found that it does little to change the taste of the drink and ends up turning your absinthe brown.


Martini But, my personal favorite is the Absinthe Martini. Absinthe blends perfectly with dry vermouth, since they are both made from the same thing - wormwood! In fact, the English word 'vermouth' is derived from the German word for Wormwood - Wermut (pronounced vehr-moot).


Now don't get the misconception that vermouth alone will give you the same 'buzz' as absinthe. Absinthe is made from the entire wormwood plant (and several other herbs), whereas vermouth is made solely from the wormwood flower and contains far less Thujone (the primary drug in absinthe).


But never the less, vermouth still contains more Thujone than water - so it doesn't hurt to try it!

1 shot absinthe
1/2 shot Vermouth
1 or 2 shots water (to taste)
2 sugar cube
ice cubes

Fill a martini glass with ice. Pour the absinthe, Vermouth, and water over the sugar cubes and enjoy!.


Traditional But the most important thing to remember is -- Don't let the first sip scare you away! That first gulp is always the worst. The moment this ultra-bitter stuff hits the tongue, it will send you into a cartoon-character-like convulsion. But I can assure you -- Your taste buds will eventually de-sensitize to the point that this nasty swill almost tastes good! Homemade Absinthe is definitely an acquired taste.

Also remember that it doesn't matter how much you drink -- That licorice flavor will linger in your mouth for hours. Once you commit to that first drink, you might as well see it through. And I promise, by the time you finish that 3rd glass you won't care about the taste. Well... at least you wont care as much!!





Professional Absinthe


AbsintheX
AbsintheX - Zele Premium Absinthe

Here's the description from their own website:
"Formulated true to the original 19th century formula and made exclusively for us in the Czech Republic . Zele Premium Absinthe contains 111 mg of the psychoactive ingredient thujone - the essence of the celebrated effects adored by some of the world's most notorious artists and writers. Van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway, Bob Dylan, Marilyn Manson and Eminem are just a few aficionados who have been inspired by absinthe. Zele Premium Absinthe has no artificial color or preservatives. With 111 mg of thujone it is the most potent absinthe available anywhere in the world today. The Czech Republic is the only country where the liquor laws do not limit thujone content levels. Naturally green in color, Zele Premium Absinthe is 75.5% alcohol (151 proof) and is bottled using only the finest fresh herbs and wormwood that distill inside and enhance the taste and thujone content. All the ingredients are carefully selected and blended by craftsmen to ensure its distinctive taste. Zele Premium Absinthe is savored by veteran absinthe drinkers and the adventurous alike. It's a sensation for the mind and an adventure for the pallet."
I've never been able to test the thujone content of my homemade absinthe. But after taking a few shots of AbsintheX, I can tell that my absinthe must contain less than this professionally-made brew. I could start feeling the effects after the 2nd shot. After this, I sipped 3 more glasses made in the traditional style and was quite pleased with the results. Despite being stronger, this absinthe actually tastes much better. It goes down smooth, and tastes like a shot Ouzo combined with just enough wormwood oil taste to let you know that this is the real thing.

I have only tried one other professionally made absinthe before this, and even though it tasted good, I was let down by the low thujone level. I didn't realize that it was possible to have such a high thujone content in a good tasting absinthe until I tried this brand. I highly recommend it.




Other Absinthe Recipes




One ounce dried chopped wormwood
One tablespoon angelica root
One teaspoon hyssop
One half teaspoon coriander seeds
One quarter teaspoon caraway seeds
One pinch cardomon pods
One tablespoon fennel or anise seeds
750 ml. 100 proof vodka

Notes on the Psychopharmacology of Absinthe

I get email asking me about the effects of my absinthe. It contains the same active ingredients as distilled absinthe and has the same effects. Now, what are these effects? I describe them as a cross between pot, ecstasy, cocaine, strong coffee, and vodka. Thujone is discussed elsewhere in the Absinthe Ring, but I think there may be more to the effects of absinthe than thujone, namely the highly-complex synergistic effect of a psychoactive cocktail. Other ingredients in the recipe have their own reputations. Angelica root is crewed as a drug in Lapland. Anise and fennel seed both contain potentially psychoactive anethole. Caraway seeds are reputed aphrodisiacs and the basis of the German liqueur kummel. Coriander is mentioned as an aphrodisiac in the Arabic One Thousand and One Nights, and is said to conjure up the devil when used in combination with fennel in the same text. Other recipes call for hops, a sedative and hypnotic, and calamus root, which contain psychoactive asarones, used as an inebriant by Native Americans. And then there is the hyssop, a nervine. Add it all up; the sum may be greater than the whole.
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2 ounces of wormwood(3 ounces of commercial stuff)
1 ounce wormwood powder
ounce crushed anise seed.
1 bottle of store bought oil of anise seed.
ounce of fennel
2 pinches of dill (for precursor oils)
2 Pinches of Parsley (for essential oils)
ounce of calamus (gave me terrible nausea following day, but calamus in high doses always does that to me)
One 750ml bottle of Clear Spring 190 (dilute before drinking!!)

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1 pint vodka
2 tsp anise seed
4 cardomom pods
tsp ground coriander
2 tsp crumbled wormwood (dried)
1 2/3 cups sugar syrup
tsp fennel seed
1 tsp majoram
2 tsp chopped angelica root

Place vodka in large jar with tight fitting lid. Add wormwood and shake well; steep 48 hrs and strain out. Crush seeds and pods in mortar. Add them and all remaining spices to vodka and steep in a warm place 1 week. Filter and sweeten (the sugar syrup mentioned above is standard simple syrup).

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1 tsp crumbled wormwood
1 cup vodka
2 Tbsp chopped peppermint leaves
1 piece of lemon peel, 3/4"x2"
1/3 to cup sugar syrup

Steep wormwood in vodka for 48 hours. Strain out and add peppermint leaves and lemon peel. Steep for eight days, strain and sweeten (smells good but is more bitter than #1).

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2 tsp dried peppermint
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried hyssop
2 tsp dried sage
2 pints port
2 tsp dried wormwood
2 tsp dried lavender
2 tsp dried majoram

Steep herbs one week, filter and bottle (drinkers have described this as bitter, aromatic and potent).

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From Arnold's article in Scientific American:

An 1855 recipe from Pontarlier, France, gives the following instructions for making absinthe: Macerate 2.5 kilograms of dried wormwood, 5 kilograms of anise and 5 kilograms of fennel in 95 liters of 85 percent ethanol by volume. Let the mixture steep for at least 12 hours in the pot of a double boiler. Add 45 liters of water and apply heat; collect 95 liters of distillate. To 40 liters of the distillate, add 1 kilogram of Roman wormwood, 1 kilogram of hyssop and 500 grams of lemon balm, all of which have been dried and finely divided. Extract at a moderate temperature, then siphon off the liquor, filter, and reunite it with the remaining 55 liters of distillate. Dilute with water to produce approximately 100 liters of absinthe with a final alcohol concentration of 74 percent by volume.





Jade Liqueurs absinthe at the Combier distillery




Mixed Drinks




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Absinthe Bollyslide

1 part Absinthe
1/2 part Jack Daniels
1/2 part Gin
1/4 part Peach Schnapps
1 part Red Bull
Splash of cranberry Juice


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Absinth Eye

1/3 part peppermint
2/3 part Absinthe

Shake well and pour into cocktail glass.


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Absinthe Fizz

1.5 oz. Absinthe
1 Tsp. Sugar
1 Egg White
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Seltzer

* Shake with ice * Strain into a highball glass * Fill remaining portion of glass with seltzer.


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Absinthe Pousse-Cafe Flambe

6-layers:
1. Grenadine
2. Butterscotch Schnapps
3. Blue Curacao
4. Creme de Banana
5. Creme de Menthe
6. Absinthe

Carefully pour each layer over the previous layer. The top layer is flamable.


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Absinthe Royal

1 shot Absithe
1 Glass of champagne
splash of creme de menthe

Pour Absinthe and Creme de Methe, fill remainder with champagne


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Absynth Curacao Frappe

1 oz. Absinthe
1/2 oz. curacao
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 thin slice of orange

Stir ingredients and pour over crushed ice in a martini glass.
Add orange slice.


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Absolution

1 splash Absinthe
2 splashes Krupnik (honey liquor)
3 splashes ginger cordial

Mix equal parts of lime juice, orange juice, apple juice. Splash other ingredients.
Shake over ice - charge with ginger.


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Atomic Bomb

1/2 Absinthe
1/2 brandy

Stir and pour into cocktail glass.


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Becher Club Cocktail

1 part Absinthe
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part orange juice
1.5 parts Vermouth Bianco

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Becher Spirit

1 part Absinthe
1 part tonic
2 part sparkling wine/wine
1/4 shot of Grenadine
Garnish and Ice


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Becherovka Paris

1 part Becherovka
2 part brandy (or Cognac)
1 Cherry (on stick)


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Becherovka Mimosa

1 part Absinthe
2 parts Champagne
2 parts freshly squeezed orange juice


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Desire

1/4 Absynthe
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 lemon juice

Shake well and pour into cocktail glass...


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Green Tear

1 part of Absinthe
2 parts of cranberry juice
1 part of Indian tonic water
1 slice of lemon
Shake well and pour into a cocktail glass.


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Knock Out

1/3 Absinthe
1/3 dry gin
1/3 French vermouth
1 teaspoonful white Creme de Menthe

Shake well and pour into cocktail glass.


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Red Becherovka

1 part Absinthe
3 parts Grapefruit juice
Splash of Cranberry juice


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Sazerac Absinthe Cocktail

1 part Absinthe
1 part sugar syrup
2 parts Bourbon
3 part Peychaud bitters (Cherry and Anise)
3 part Angosturas bitters

Shake over ice and serve...

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Traditional Method

1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 ounces cognac
splash of Absinthe
Strip of lemon peel


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TNT

2/3 Absinthe
1/3 Hennessy VSOP
Splash Cointreau
Angostura bitters

Stir over ice strain and Serve Garnish with an orange wedge


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Traffic Light

2 parts of cranberry juice
1 part of orange juice
1 part of Absinthe

Pour carefully into a cocktail glass half filled with ice.


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Warf Rat

1 part of white rum
1 part of Grenadine
1 part of Absinthe
1 part of Apricot brandy
3 parts of orange juice

Mix with crushed ice and top it up with Absinthe.


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Medicinal Properties of Ingredients



Wormwood (Thujone):
Medical - Although it was originally believed to be similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that has since been disproven. Most likely thujone antagonizes inhibition in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor system. Drugs that act as agonists of GABA receptors (known as GABA analogues or GABAergics) or increase the available amount of GABA typically have relaxing, anti-anxiety and anti-convulsive effects.

In mice the median lethal dose, or LD50, is around 45 mg/kg, 0% mortality rate at 30 mg/kg and 100% at 60 mg/kg. Those exposed to the higher dose had convulsions that led to death in 1 minute. From 30 to 45 mg/kg the mice would experience muscle spasms in the legs which progressed to general convulsions until death or recovery. Pretreatment of diazepam, phenobarbital or 1 g/kg of ethanol protected against a lethal 100 mg/kg dose.

There are few studies on humans and the LD50 isn't known. One study in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol administered 0.28 mg/kg thujone in alcohol, 0.028 mg/kg in alcohol and just alcohol to subjects. The high dose had a negative effect on attention performance. The lower dose showed no noticeable effect. There is no evidence that any dose will cause hallucinations.

Legal - In the EU, alcoholic beverages above 50 proof are limited to 10 mg/kg thujone. In the United States, the sale of beverages containing thujone is prohibitted (but conumption and possession of thujone-containing beverages is not punishable by law.)

Hyssop:
Medical - Hyssop has medicinal properties which are listed as including expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic. Its active constituents are volatile oil, flavonoids, tannins and bitter substance (marrubin). A strong tea made from the leaves and flowering tops is used in lung, nose and throat congestion and catarrhal complaints, and externally it can be applied to bruises to reduce the swelling and discolouration. An old English country remedy for cuts and wounds suffered working in the fields was to apply a poultice of bruised hyssop leaves and sugar in order to reduce the risk of tetanus infection. An essential oil made from hyssop increases alertness and is a gently relaxing nerve tonic suitable for treating nervous exhaustion, overwork, anxiety and depression. The Herb Society's "Complete Medicinal Herbal" cautions however that "the essential oil contains the ketone pino-camphone which in high doses can cause convulsions. Do not take more than the recommended dose.".
Calamus:
Medical - Calamus has been an item of trade in many cultures for thousands of years. Calamus has been used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments. In antiquity in the Orient and Egypt, the rhizome was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Dried calamus rhizome (root) can be used to treat stomach cramps, gas, gastric ulcers, and lack of appetite. In Europe Acorus calamus was often added to wine, and the root is also one of the possible ingredients of absinthe. Among the northern Native Americans, it is used both medicinally and as a stimulant; in addition, the root is thought to have been used as an entheogen among the northern Native Americans. In high doses, it is hallucinogenic.

Legal - Calamus and products derived from calamus (such as its oil) were banned in 1968 as food additives and medicines by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Fennel:
Flavor - Fennel is widely cultivated both in its native range and elsewhere of for its edible, strongly flavoured leaves and seeds. The flavour is similar to that of anise and star anise, though usually not so strong.

Medical - Essential oil of Fennel is included in some pharmacopoeias. It is traditionally used in drugs to treat chills and stomach problems. In medieval times fennel was used in conjunction with St John's wort to keep away witchcraft and other evil things. This might have originated because fennel can be used as an insect repellent.

Cloves:
Flavor - Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong they are used sparingly.

Medical - The compound responsible for the cloves' aroma is eugenol. It is the main component in the essential oil extracted from cloves, comprising 72-90%. Eugenol has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties.

Coriander:
Flavor - The dry fruit are known as coriander seeds or simply as coriander. They have a lemony citrus flavour when crushed, due to the presence of the terpenes linalool and pinene. It is also described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavoured.

Medical - Researchers have found that coriander can assist with clearing the body of lead, aluminium and mercury. Cilantro has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. Experiments in mice support its use as an anxiolytic. Cilantro essential oil has been demonstrated to exhibit antibacterial action against E. Coli.

Anise:
Flavor - The fruit consists of two united carpels, called a cremocarp, and has a strong licorice-like taste and a powerful odor. However, the anise plant is not related to the European plant whose roots are the source of true licorice.

Medical - By distillation the fruit yields the volatile oil of anise, which is useful in the treatment of flatulence and colic in children. It may be given as Aqua Anisi, in doses of one or more ounces, or as the Spiritus Anisi, in doses of 520 minims. It has also been used to treat canker sores.


Star Anise:
Flavor - Star anise, or Chinese star anise, is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a small native evergreen tree of southwest China. Star anise contains anethole, the same ingredient which gives the unrelated anise its flavor.

Medical - Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for colic and rheumatism, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion. Although it is produced in most autotrophic organisms, star anise is the industrial source of shikimic acid, a primary ingredient used to create the anti-flu drug Tamiflu. Tamiflu is regarded as the most promising drug to mitigate the severity of bird flu (H5N1); however, reports indicate that some forms of the virus have already adapted to Tamiflu.

Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum), a similar tree, is not edible because it is highly toxic.





Disclaimer: The above absithe information is for informational purposes only. Some of the substances mentioned here can be toxic and may result in injury and very nasty hangovers. Please consult reliable medical information before attempting to ingest the substances listed here. Continued use of absinthe can result in addiction, convulsions, and possibly death -- or at least that's what I've been told :)






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