Absinthe is an anise-flavored aperitif distilled from anise, Florence fennel and wormwood. In defiance of mainstream opinion, due primarily to fallacious conjecture about wormwood, absinthe, when appropriately distilled, is not overly bitter.
The term "absinthe" comes from Artemisia absinthium, the scientific name for its key ingredient, wormwood. Wormwood possesses a pungent floral and herbal flavor and aroma that is elevated when extracted by proper distillation. Some compelling bitterness in prime absinthe is present, but not to an unbearable extent. In an adequately distilled absinthe, the anise flavor should not be overbearing; it sometimes is, particularly when it is made from star anise instead of green anise.