About Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu
Born in England in 1819, Joshua Norton was raised in South Africa and emigrated to the United States upon receiving a bequest of $40,000 from his father's estate. Upon his arrival in the United States, Norton moved to San Francisco, and made his living investing in real estate. After making a large investment in Peruvian rice, however, Norton lost his fortune and left California.
By the time Norton returned to San Francisco from his self-imposed exile, he had become disgruntled with the inadequacies of the federal government and declared himself Emperor of the United States:
"At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U.S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity."
As Emperor, Norton — dressed in part Union and part Confederate attire — ordered the dissolution of Congress (if only wishing made it so) and the construction of a bridge between San Francisco and Oakland. Despite his eccentricities and psychological condition, Californians adored Emperor Norton — nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage to Norton upon his death in 1880.
On Treasure Island — a man-made island located between San Francisco and Oakland — Raff Distillerie pays tribute to America's first and only Emperor with Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu.
Carter Raff, master distiller at the eponymous distillery, has been distilling spirits for nearly his entire life and began experimenting with absinthe over 25 years ago. Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu starts with brandy made from 100% California grapes, which Raff distills with absinthe's three traditional ingredients — grand wormwood, anise and fennel seed — before adding Roman wormwood, hyssop and lemon balm. The result is an absinthe reminiscent of absinthes served in Paris over a century ago — it has woody hints of wormwood, followed by gentle notes of anise and citrus undertones. After distillation, Raff fills and labels each bottle by hand.
The custom of drinking absinthe — which traditionally has a natural green color and is often called la fée verte
, or the "green fairy"- gradually became so popular in bars, cafés, and cabarets that, by the 1860s, the hour of 5 p.m. was called l'heure verte
, or the "green hour". Enjoy l'heure verte with a bottle of Emperor Norton Abinsthe Dieu!
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