As any frat boy can tell you, absinthe, the spirit of choice for Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Verlaine, was banned here in 1912 following rumors that its primary ingredient, grand wormwood, contained a psychosis-inducing hallucinogen called thujone — but now a Manhasset distributor Lucid has convinced the U.S. Alcohol-Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau that the green fairy is just as safe as any other liver-pickling, brain-shrinking alcohol on the market (even if the 124-proof booze’s alcohol content is more than 50 percent greater than that of vodka, rum, and most whiskeys).
After carefully targeting estate sales and renegade bars in search of authentic absinthe, Lucid partner Jared Gurfein contracted French–via–New Orleans chemist Ted Breaux to help him make an American reproduction. (According to Gurfein, one could consume twenty-plus bottles of absinthe before thujone intake became an issue.) When the $59.95, 750-milliliter bottle becomes available later in the month, connoisseurs will want to dilute its contents by pouring them through a sugar cube (traditionally rested over the glass on a special spoon), then diluting the sugar-absinthe mix with three or five parts iced water. Bars that plan on serving the green stuff are said to include
Pegu Club, The Dove, STK, and Employees Only, the last of which offers the recipes below to less traditional connoisseurs. —Brian Niemietz
Billionaire Cocktail: Baker’s Bourbon, Lucid, fresh lemon juice, homemade grenadine.
Honeydew: Gin, Lucid, muddled honeydew, lemon juice, and Champagne.
The Mint Muse: Lucid, pineapple juice, muddled mint leaves, lime, and 7-Up.