Cowboys And Cocktails

Pernod Fils Absinthe Maison Pernod Fils
The history of absinthe is the history of alcohol itself in microcosm. Originally envisioned as a medicinal agent, it grew into popular recreational use, so much so that it was symbolic once for the very nature of French and Swiss drinking.

Yet much of the world banned its production between 1912 and 1915. The increasingly urban and industrial character of society brought along with it blights in the forms of indigency, homelessness, alcoholism, thievery and moral decay.

Absinthe’s real effects did not differ markedly from other spirits, and despite its traditionally high proof, it was always consumed heavily diluted. Nonetheless due to its popularity it became the targeted culprit for a world looking to cure social ills.

Of the many companies that produced absinthe, Pernod Fils was the best known and most popular. The billhead depicted above is dated less than 1 year before this anis-flavored bitter spirit was outlawed and the company forced to cease production.
Terminus Poster
One of the popular brands of absinthe, Terminus, ill-advisedly used the images of beloved and respected stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, sans name, on one of their advertising posters. Bernhardt was said to have been livid and took the company to court - which made it very early in the pantheon of celebrity endorsement litigations.
Absint's use in America was never as widespread or fervent as that seen in Europse. It was confined mainly to mixed drinks, either cocktail or highball, and before the United States banned its importation and production in 1912, it was just one of many ingredients so used. If absinthe lacked the specific importance in the States it had in Europe, it begs the question why did they ban it here? The answer lay with the Temperence forces. It was a dry run to Prohibition.
Exhibit material collected and composed by: Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh
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