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Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 04/ 2/2008

Chasing Down the Green Fairy

By Fritz Hahn

Lately, Got Plans? readers have been asking about bars serving absinthe. It's showing up in more and more places throughout the area, though I'm still looking for one that prepares its absinthe using the traditional ceremony. In the meantime, if you're looking for cocktails that make use of the Green Fairy, head for Cork.

Kübler, a Swiss absinthe, is fine on its own, but adds an interesting edge to more familiar cocktails. (Courtesy of Kübler)

Bartender Tom Brown, one of my favorite local mixologists, will make a Sazarac using the original recipe for that New Orleans favorite, washing the interior of a glass with a Swiss absinthe Kübler before adding brandy and Rittenhouse Bonded Rye whiskey to the mix. This cocktail dates back to the mid-19th century, and was made with absinthe until the U.S. outlawed the drink in 1912. Pernod or another French pastis was used afterwards, but putting the Kübler in makes for a fuller taste and a better mouthfeel.

Cork still lacks printed cocktail menus, but the star of its unofficial lineup is Dawn over Manhattan, Brown's herbal twist on the traditional Manhattan. The Kübler is joined by Rittenhouse Rye Bonded, an assertive whiskey that's aged for four years before it's sold; Antica Formula Carpano vermouth, which has a wonderfully herbal taste; and dashes of Fee Brothers whiskey bitters, all topped with a slice of blood orange. I know a lot of Manhattan lovers would be troubled by the idea of absinthe or pastis in their cocktail, but I can assure you that the Kübler only adds to the experience -- there's just a hint of anise in the finish, but the Manhattan becomes more rich and viscous with Kübler in the glass, almost velvety.

This isn't a cocktail for the faint of heart: Kübler checks in at 53 percent alcohol by volume, the Rittenhouse is at 50 percent, and even the vermouth is higher than usual at 16.5 percent. Brown jokes that if there was ever a one-per-customer drink at Cork, this might be it.

Both drinks will run you about $10.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | April 2, 2008; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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I've heard that the Red Durby in Columbia Heights serves it..

Posted by: Alyson | April 2, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I know that L2 has it on their menu. Have not tried it there...but you should!

Posted by: ms | April 3, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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