Swiss absinthe is all high quality, and the country has a legal definition of absinthe. The most common Swiss absinthe, known as "La Bleue", is clear. That Swiss absinthe tends to be white is not at all down to chance, but for a very good and surprising reason: That is - absinthe was banned, and the people in the Val de Travers, the centre of the absinthe world, refused to give up their absinthe and started distilling it illegally at home. Clear liquid was easier to disguise than green... Read on for more.
Absinthe in Switzerland during the Belle Epoque
Absinthe originally comes from Switzerland. As of the XVIIIth century in Couvet, Switzerland, Henriette Henriod, know as the "Mère Henriod", started producing an absinthe elixir used against number of diseases.
The popularity of this drink grew rapidly. Having noticed that, major Dubied bought the recipe and partnered with his son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod with who he opened the company "Dubied Père & Fils in 1798". When he saw the business was working well, Henri-Louis Pernod decided to open a company of his own. He created his first distillery in Couvet, but when it became too small for him he crossed the border line and opened the first French distillery: the Pernod Fils company. By doing that, Pernod forged an inextricable link between his name and absinthe forever.
Absinthe was then a victim of its own success. Various incidents convinced the lawmakers that absinthe was dangerous enough to be forbidden, and on October the 7th 1910, absinthe was banned in Switzerland (following the lead of Belgium, Brazil and the Netherlands).
Soon after that, the air of the countryside was filled with a smell of burnt tires. The clandestine distillers had found a good way of hiding the characteristic smell of the cooking of absinthe. That is why between its ban and its re-legalisation (2005), absinthe never stopped existing in Switzerland!
Absinthe in Switzerland nowadays
On March the 1st 2005, absinthe was finally legal again in Switzerland, after 95 years of clandestine production and an untold number of bottles sold under the table.
Since then, quite a few former clandestine distillers and their relatives have started distilling legally, including Gaudentia Persoz, Claude-Alain Bugnon, and Philippe Martin of La Valote.
The fact that Swiss absinthe is doing so well proves that its quality is recognized and appreciated. The credit goes to the Val-de-Travers, cradle of birth of this delicious beverage.
Swiss absinthe is among the Absinthes.com team's favourites!