Mate is the national drink of Argentina. “Maté” literally means “I killed” in Spanish. Later the word was used by people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives rough and sour drink, always consumed with nothing added to soften the taste. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in the same gourd cup, also called mate or guampa.
The initial preparation involves an arrangement of the yerba within the gourd before adding hot water. In this method, the gourd is first filled half to three-quarters of the way with yerba The mate is then shaken very gently in a side-to-side motion. Now the mate is ready to receive the straw.
Some people pour warm water into the mate before adding the straw, while others say that the straw is best inserted into dry yerba. If the straw was inserted into dry yerba, the mate must first be filled once with cool water, then be allowed to absorb it completely (which generally takes no more than two or three minutes).
Mate is traditionally drunk in a social setting, like a family gathering or among a group of friends. The same gourd (cuia) and straw (bomba/bombilla) are passed around and used by everyone drinking .
Absinthe with it’s natural green color has been referred to as the Green Fairy. This anise-flavoured spirit is made from the flowers and leaves of wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel and other herbs, and because of it’s high alcohol level is normally diluted with water. With a slightly bitter taste, it is often poured into a glass of water over a sugar cube on a perforated spoon, some of which were elaborately designed for this purpose.
Absinthe was said to be both a narcotic and an aphrodisiac. It was adopted by the bohemian Parisian culture of authors and artists who claimed that it stimulated creativity. Absinthe’s legends caused it to be banned in most of Europe and North America. It took nearly a century before it’s reputation could be restored. In 1988, France lifted its ban on absinthe, but it wasn’t marketed under its real name again until 1998. Studies have proven that the ingredients have never been hallucinogenic, but it’s effects were due to the fact that it is 140 proof. Absinthe doesn’t come cheap, priced at about seventy dollars a bottle. Absinthe’s long past is the stuff of legend whether true or not.