WHAT? Louche libation. A distilled, mildly anise-flavored spirit infused with herbs, absinthe was mythologized by countless late 19th- and early 20th-century writers and artists—Degas, Van Gogh, Wilde, and Hemingway among them. Often called "the green fairy," absinthe came to be considered as dangerous as it was popular and was banned in the United States and several European countries by 1915.
Described at the time by a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as "one of the worst enemies of man," the seriously strong spirit, which is made with wormwood, a plant with purported hallucinogenic properties, was blamed for several high-profile cases of violence (including Van Gogh's ear-cutting incident).
These days absinthe's mind-altering effects have been widely disproven. In 2004 the U.S. ban was lifted, and absinthe moved off the black market and onto the shelves. The liquor, which has an alcohol content of up to 75%, is traditionally served in a glass topped with a slotted spoon holding a cube of sugar; ice-cold water is then poured over the sugar cube until the drink is diluted sufficiently. But modern mixologists prefer to blend the emerald-green elixir into colorful cocktails, like the one the folks from Maison Premiere will be serving at the Beard House tonight.
WHAT? Frenchmen’s Roulette > Old Overholt Rye Whiskey with Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, Absinthe, Maraschino Cherry, and Creole Bitters