If you’re up to date on trendy Netflix series, you might have already started binging the fourth season of “You.” The drama, narrated by twisted serial killer Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley), is currently the No. 1 trending Netflix show in the U.S.

If you also happen to be keyed into the spirits industry, a boozy detail from the first episode might have sparked a few absinthe-related questions. Allow us to set the scene for you.

A recent London transplant, Goldberg settles into his neighborhood under an assumed identity as a professor. A coworker invites the hesitant Goldberg to join him for drinks at a social club (think Soho House).

It’s filled with rich patrons, which Goldberg largely finds unlikable. Someone encourages him to down a shot of liquor, which he later learns is absinthe.

“The wallpaper’s going to start talking to you, sweetheart,” a socialite quips.

He starts hallucinating after taking another shot and blacks out, attributing the high to the so-called “Green Fairy.”


Long story short, Goldberg wakes up to an unfortunate mess in his apartment (in more ways than one) which leaves him wondering: Did he do something terrible after drinking the absinthe, or is there another murderer in his midst?

It also leaves viewers wondering: Can drinking absinthe really cause one to see things?

While the mysterious green spirit serves as an excellent plot device, rest assured that it’s not actually hallucinogenic. It’s a common myth — perpetuated for over 100 years — that the botanical spirit causes anything more than intoxication.

This misconception stems from several sources. The small amount of wormwood used in the spirit does contain a psychoactive property called thujone; however, it’s such a small quantity that it wouldn’t be felt. Absinthe’s high alcohol content — ranging from 45 to 70 percent ABV — could also knock drinkers off their feet. A mysterious green hue only adds to the absinthe’s intrigue.

If this “You” scene played out in real life, Joe would likely end up sloshed — hold the wallpaper convos. This fictional series’s depiction of absinthe seems to be nothing more than movie magic.