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.