Absinthe from Switzerland
The Val-de-Travers, the birthplace of absinthe
Born in the Val-de-Travers, absinthe has flourished in the region from the late 18th century until this day; legal at first, then banned, only to be legalised again in March 2005.
The Val-de-Travers is indeed the place where absinthe was born. It was in this valley that it was produced for the first time at the end of the 18th century.
To this day, the plants of the region give the Swiss “la Bleue” its distinctive flavour, its richness in taste and its bitterness.
The Swiss Ritual
1. Pour 4-6cl of Absinthe in a glass.
2. Slowly add icecold water preferably from a fountain (have a look at our Accessories).
3. Mix the content of the glass with the Absinthe spoon.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were more than 15 distilleries and more than 40 plantations in the region; secure jobs for hundreds of people. There was also a large number of warehouses to dry the plants; the one of Cines in Boveresse is now a historical monument.
The great success of the so-called "milk from Boveresse" proved, however, to be fatal. In 1908, due to the enormous pressure of the rival wine producers and the growing prohibition movement, absinthe was banned in Switzerland.
In 1910, the ban was established and the production of absinthe became clandestine, proving the immortality of the Fairy.
A myth was born and throughout the 20th century, absinthe was solely produced by a handful of individuals, in the basements and kitchens of the Val-de-Travers. It is said that Swiss absinthe was made clear at this time in order to fool the local Customs officers that the drink was in fact vodka or another clear spirit.
Locals called their absinthes either "les blanches," in honour of the white "louche," or "les bleues," since the louched absinthe apparently reflected the blue skies of Switzerland.
On March 1st 2005, the ban was lifted and a number of clandestine distillers came out in the open. The myth might have lost its power but the quality of the Val-de-Travers absinthe has not.