Over a year ago, the first legal absinthe since before Prohibition made its way to New York. Now, its omnipresence — whether of the variety that’s true to the original or not — has inspired plenty of noteworthy concoctions. As to the supposed hallucinogenic properties of the liquor, those remain a hotly debated topic, but head to any of these spots and, at the very least, you can try and blame any unruly behavior on your legal drug use.
10. Bookmarks in the Library Hotel (Midtown East) – An absinthe cocktail named after famed author and absinthe-lover Oscar Wilde is great. Blitzes of Midtowners looking for their after-work alcohol fix? Not so much. With that in mind, head to Bookmarks on the later side for some cozy digs and a fireside Oscar Wilde. 9. Employees Only (West Village) – Party like it’s 1920 as you sip on your Martinez — made with gin, maraschino liqueur, bianco vermouth, and dashes of absinthe bitters — at the perpetually packed Prohibition era-inspired spot. 8. The Eldridge (Lower East Side) – Who needs Rose Armand de Brignac Champagne when you can have tableside absinthe service? All you need now is a way in and someone to foot the exorbitant bill.
7. Death & Co (East Village) – Not for nothing will you face a pain-in-the-ass wait to get into this diminutive no-reservation spot. Intricately prepared, Death & Co’s absinthe-based cocktails even have perfectly sized ice cubes. 6. Vintage Irving (Union Square) – For a laid-back spot with a neighborhood feel, the absinthe bar at Vintage Irving delivers. Plus, what could be better than Death in the Afternoon (Lucid, sugar cube, and champagne), on a lazy Sunday? 5. Sweetiepie (West Village) – Best for the uber-girly or those looking to punish a misbehaving boyfriend, you can pair your absinthe with milk & cookies at this Alice in Wonderland-esque spot. 4. Tailor (Soho) – Because while traditional Gummy Bears are good, absinthe ones are better. 3. PDT (East Village) – Sure, the gimmicky twist of going through Crif Dogs’ phone booth gets old, but there’s no denying that the folks at this faux-speakeasy take their absinthe — served in small pours or in absinthe-based cocktails — very seriously. 2. White Star (Lower East Side) – Until recently, this popular LES spot was devoid of fancy cocktails. But they definitely concentrate fully on absinthe. Watch as mixologist extraordinaire Sasha Petraske prepares it the old fashion way — from experience. And when speaking with the master, it’s best not to bring up preparing absinthe using fire. 1. Apothéke (Chinatown) – You’ll feel like you landed on some sketchy movie set when you approach the oddball stretch Apothéke is located on, but make your way past the crank façade and marvel at the 19th-century-inspired spot where apothéker Albert Trummer serves up his own homemade absinthe.