TASTE TEST: Absinthe Minded

A centuries-old spirit, the preferred poison of Toulouse-Lautrec and the Parisian bohemian class, returns for another round.

Absinthe Slushy

653 Virginia Ave., 317-686-1580, bluebeardindy.com

Bluebeard combines Vieux Carre (distilled in Philadelphia, the East Coast’s first legal absinthe in nearly 100 years) with housemade fennel syrup and bitters poured over crushed ice. The effect is so numbingly chilly, you could have your wisdom teeth removed at the same time. $15



The Libertine
38 E. Washington St., 317-631-3333, libertineindy.com

You would expect a restaurant named after the sophisticated-debauchery movement to have some fun with a once-banned potion famous for its degenerative effects. Here, St. George absinthe is combined with tequila; dry vermouth; and herby, cognac-based Benedictine. $11

Fall Sazerac

The Ball & Biscuit
331 Massachusetts Ave., 317-636-0539, ballandbiscuit.com 

The Sazerac is one of the earliest absinthe cocktails, in which a chilled glass is swirled with just a wash of the strongly flavored elixir. Ball & Biscuit adds to the mix Jim Beam Rye, shagbark hickory syrup, and orange bitters. Hold onto your Moleskine journal. This one’s a doozy. $10

* Drinks pictured left to right: Bluebeard, The Libertine, The Ball & Biscuit

Photo by Tony Valainis

This article appeared in the December 2012 issue.