The origins of this peculiar spirit drink, absinthe, are not very clear, as according to popular belief, the recipe was discovered by a French doctor living in Switzerland. Absinthe was sold as an elixir and this is how it became widely known. The first absinthe distillery opened in the late 18th century. It was so successful that in the 1840s it was supplied to French troops as a treatment for fever. Many artists of the period made it their own, becoming loyal consumers of this alcoholic beverage. The Wildes, Van Gogh, Baudelaire, Manet, Picasso, Degas, Hemingway and others found inspiration for much of their work in absinthe.