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Back in college when absinthe was illegal and we had no money and no sense, my best friend and I would party with bottles of absinthe she’d smuggle back from European family trips. We’d do shots of straight absinthe that burned like rocket fuel all the way down.  Then feel like hammered shit the next morning.  Good times!
This intense, anise-flavored spirit has made a lacy, sophisticated, legal comeback, popping up in bars and craft cocktails everywhere. You could order an absinthe drip (pictured), where a glass of this fiery liquid waits patiently as a sugar cube is set ablaze over an ornate slotted spoon.  Then a drip of chilled water slowly extinguishes the flames  for a sweet, pale green drink that smells of anise and fennel.

Well, I gave it the the old college try. If you’d like an deep, complex drink that was a favorite of Vincent van Gogh and Oscar Wilde, ask for an absinthe drip at Chinatown Coffee Co., which stocks several brands of absinthe.  475 H Street NW, Washington, DC. 202.559.7656.

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Blue Duck Tavern’s Absinthe & Bubbles ($14) is sweet and effervescent like Oscar Wilde, with the addition of Va de Vi sparkling wine.  24th and M Streets, NW Washington, DC. 202.419.6755

It’s Death In The Afternoon ($13) at Dirty Martini when absinthe meets lemon and champagne, garnished with a lemon peel.  1223 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC. 202.503.2640.

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