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When The Green Fairy Disappeared, France Became Known For Its Wines

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Illustration of the wormwood plant and its various parts
Swallow Garden Seeds
Public Domain
Grand wormwood is one of the three botanicals used in producing traditional absinthe and was the one that saw the spirit banned in a number of countries for decades.

Once literally the toast of Paris, myths and rumors drove the production of the green spirit absinthe underground.

From the late 1800s through the early 1900s the absinthe craze was at its peak. The spirit, with an alcohol content up to 70 percent, originated in Switzerland and became the favorite of the French. Master Sommelier Doug Frost explains what led to the almost total disappearance of absinthe.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.