In these times of Absinthe revival, many people are wondering and asking questions about how much Absinthe does it take to get drunk or hallucinate?
Absinthe is a drink of myths and legend. Many know that it was the favorite drink of artists and writers such as Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde who credited it with giving them inspiration and their genius. Prohibition campaigners blamed it for people's loose morals, widespread alcohol abuse, for causing hallucinations, convulsions and psychedelic effects. Absinthe was even compared to cannabis. But, are all these claims and statements true or are they part of the legend which surrounds the Green Fairy?
How Much Absinthe Does it Take to Hallucinate?
There is still debate going on today over the effects of drinking Absinthe. Absinthe was banned in many countries in the early 1900s due to its alleged psychedelic effects and the work of Dr Valentin Magnan. Magnan tested wormwood oil (Artemesia Absinthium), a key ingredient in Absinthe, and found that it caused epileptic fits in animals due to the toxic psychoactive chemical thujone.
It was believed that vintage pre ban Absinthe contained as much as 350mg per liter of thujone and that this caused people to hallucinate and “trip”. Recent tests on vintage bottles of Absinthe and original Absinthe recipes have showed that it actually only contained about 4mg of thujone per liter! The claims of the prohibition movement seem to be entirely unsourced as are statements and claims featured in the work of doctors such as Magnan.
So, how much Absinthe does it take to hallucinate? Well, it seems that you may die of alcohol poisoning in your quest to have any psychedelic effects from thujone as there is so little in commercial Absinthe today – under 10mg in most cases due to legislation. In fact, the herb sage that is used commonly in cooking has a much higher concentration of thujone than Absinthe does and you do not hallucinate after eating sage!
The Real Effects of Drinking Absinthe
Absinthe is a very strong distilled alcoholic beverage made with essential oils and herbs including aniseed, wormwood, fennel, hyssop, lemon balm, dittany, melissa, angelica and licorice. It is not usually consumed “straight” or on the rocks but is generally diluted with iced water.
The preparation of Absinthe is called the Ritual and involves dripping iced water, from a carafe or Absinthe fountain, over a cube of sugar on an Absinthe spoon resting on an Absinthe glass. Absinthe spoons are slotted to allow the water and sugar solution to drip through. When the water mixes into the Absinthe, the Absinthe louches and goes cloudy. The drink is then ready to be consumed.
Due to its alcohol content, up to 70% ABV, it should be consumed in moderation – it is very easy to get drunk on Absinthe! Many describe being drunk on Absinthe as a very different drunkenness – a “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness. This may be because of the blend of herbs used – some are sedatives and some are stimulants. Being drunk on Absinthe is very different from being drunk on fermented types of beverages such as cider or beer. You will certainly start to feel rather drunk after 3 or more glasses.
It is now legal to buy many different styles and types of Absinthes:-
- Modern classics based on vintage Absinthe based on Absinthe antiques, vintage bottles that have been found and analyzed. These Absinthes include, among others, the Jade collection by Ted Breaux, St George Spirits Absinthe Verte and Absinthe Clandestine.
- Spanish Absenta – made from Alicante Anise giving a sweeter flavor.
- La Bleue or Blance Absinthes – These are clear Swiss style Absinthes.
- Czech Absinthe – Some Czech Absinthes are real traditional Absinthes but some Bohemian Style Absinth (witout the “e”) is made without anise and is more of a wormwood bitter.
- Absinthe substitutes – These have an anise flavor but do not contain wormwood.
So, how much Absinthe does it take to hallucinate? No Absinthe can really cause you to hallucinate but it will get you drunk quite quickly!