Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn just got that much more exclusive: As of Tuesday, it is one of just three New York restaurants to serve absinthe, that crazy-making libation of Toulouse-Lautrec and his liquored-up ilk. The first hint that you're getting something illicit — or at least, extreme — is how it is served: The greenish liqueur is poured into crystalline goblets, with a delicate perforated spoon-type implement across the top, upon which is placed a single raw-sugar cube. (Update: Turns out they are special absinthe spoons, pictured here.) The glasses are placed just so around an elaborate fountain-type contraption holding ice water, with spigots dripping ice water onto the cube below, melting it into the drink. Wait, watch, marvel, stir, and serve — and, presumably, sink into a mad hallucinogenic stupor. Actually, the mad hallucinogenic stupor is sold separately, somewhere in Afghanistan: We're told the really mind-melting effects of absinthe occur when you mix it with a little opium, which is not on the menu — alas, like the $55 truffled mac and cheese, which is taking a wee hiatus but which, we're told, will be back in due time. According to Wikipedia, there is actually "no evidence [showing absinthe] to be any more dangerous or psychoactive than ordinary alcohol" — find out yourself the next time you go, or at Employees Only or STK, the only other two watering holes which also so serve.
In the meantime, enjoy this musical rendering of the effects of absinthe courtesy of Moulin Rouge, which shows not only the enduring relevance of Kylie Minogue's rear, Jessica Biel notwithstanding, but also that it's always a good time for a Sound of Music reference. L'chayim!
Clarification and Correction: We earlier wrote that the Waverly Inn had obtained a license to serve absinthe, which was incorrect; a variant of absinthe has been approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S. and that is what is being served in the above-mentioned locations. For more information on what makes this version less likely to make you see little green fairies, see this article from the New York Post earlier this week. ETP apologizes for the error. The little green fairies made us do it.