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Absinthe: Problem In Itself, Or Is It Alcohol In General That Is The Problem?

            One main theme I have learned in studying history is that there have been many "panics" in communities large and small regarding certain events concerning social order. One of the first of these panics involving alcohol and its social vices began around 1700 and ended approximately 4 decades later. Whenever a new type of beverage entered Europe and became popular it was only time until certain classes would be associated with these drinks. Seeing as there have always been social divisions between classes there have also existed a hierarchy in alcohol and its social consumptions. In the case of the Gin Panic it was viewed, by the higher classes, as ruining the social structure of their communities. Eventually, the social panic becomes a political problem and the governments have to step in and either regulates the production, distribution and/or consumption of the drink in question, or if in seeing a need, a total prohibition of the product is established. In beginning of the second decade in the twentieth century, a very popular drink suffered that same fate, after a few decades of debate, Absinthe was made illegal, and banned in most of the western world. This essay will explore the history of the institution which is Absinthe; from where it is thought to have originated, the debates over the nature of the drink as well as my own experience and thus views on the matter at hand. .
             While researching Absinthe, I decided to gather personal first hand accounts of people's experiences with the drink. I found that many people referred to their experiences as a dream or they stated a definite difference from the effects of regular spirits, an altered state of consciousness. What stirred my curiosity was when I stumbled upon an account in which the person said: .
             I anticipate the legendary effects--inspiration, enlightenment, beautiful hallucinations. What I experience is quite simple: a refreshing, liquorice-like cocktail with an alluring milky-green glow no different than any other drink.

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