[Split from: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448382]
OK, I know that the ban had something to do with the adverse health effects of one ingredient - wormwood?
For the uninitiated, such as myself, what's the attraction of the "real thing", as opposed to similar drinks from countries around the Mediterranean, such as Lebanese "arak" that have similar characteristics (the licorice/anise-y flavor, the "add water, and it turns cloudy" trick, etc.), but no wormwood?
Is it a noticeable flavor difference, or is there some sort of "wormwood buzz" that makes the real stuff "worth the risk" to some?
Not trying to be a wise guy, I don't drink much, and so I honestly don't know what the attraction is reputed to be, and have been curious.