Absinthe is an anise flavoured, highly alcoholic spirit which was extremely popular in French bohemian circles from the 19th Century. It consequently had a strong cultural effect; many artists claimed it as a muse, due to its perceived psychoactive qualities. It featured in well known paintings by Degas, Manet and Picasso, and the writers Guy de Maupassant, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Oscar Wilde were also avid drinkers. It was banned in most of Western Europe and the USA by 1914, due to the image it had gained of being addictive and harmful. The hallucinogenic effects have been disputed by modern scientists, although some have argued that the combination of herbs used in the making of the drink could cause some of the feelings described by consumers.
The ‘spirit’ believed to live in absinthe was known as ‘The Green Fairy’. She was cheekily portrayed by Kylie Minogue in the 2001 film ‘Moulin Rouge!’