I think no drink has more romantic lore than the Absinthe Cocktail! There's a lot of romance and mystery to poke through here to get to the simple truth that foodies need, so:
- Absinthe is legal in the USA
- There's a lot of untraditional absinthe available, with great marketing behind it. Lucid is a good example of a sweetened non-traditional absinthe.
- True absinthe is high-proof and very bitter, not sweet at all
- That's because it's supposed to be used in the fashion of this cocktail
- In the late 19th century, a Swiss farmer drank a liter of straight absinthe, then he killed his family with an axe.
- It wasn't the wormwood in the absithe, it was the insanely high blood-alcohol content plus whatever domestic, familial, and congenital issues he was burdened with
- BUT Pernod et fils and other makers of Marc and Pastis, losing market share to "the Green Fairy", pounced upon their disorganized, home-grown rival, with bought politicians
- So for a century people thought that the wormwood in absinthe makes you mad, when the truth of the matter is that any dope who starts his day with a liter of high-proof alcohol and a history of domestic abuse is not your typical consumer.