Absinthe is a bitter liquor derived mainly from woodworm and the herb Anise. Usually an emerald green color, absinthe is traditionally taken with sugar and added water. The drink is so potent that it is usually taken with three to five parts water per part liquor. Preparation is taken seriously. An absinthe spoon is placed atop the cup, sugar is placed on the spoon, and water is poured over the spoon and sugar and into the cup. The spoon has cuts that allow the water to seep through. The addition of water turns the drink cloudy and allows the flavors of the herbs to radiate.
Absinthe can contain anywhere from 45-89% alcohol, while most absinthe contains 60-75%. For this reason, the drink is banned in many countries, including the United States. Although it is said to originate in Switzerland, the café crowd of bohemian artists in the 1860s made it popular.