The Green Fairy. La Fée Verte. To say that absinthe is legendary would be an understatement. Even those who don't imbibe have heard absinthe legends—it makes you hallucinate or cut off your ear or spiral into a green-tinged haze of madness.
None of those are exactly true. But it's easy to see how the high, high-proof spirit could get such a reputation. Its alcohol content can be as much as 74 percent; the classic Pernod Absinthe is 68 percent. Meanwhile, its characteristic anise-fennel flavor distracts you from its mighty force.
The mystique around absinthe grew thanks to its longtime ban in the United States; forbidden fruit always has a particular appeal. But since 2007, absinthe has been legal again, and the cocktail world is all the better for it. With such an iconic spirit, we don't feel the need to get complicated. Here are three classic ways to drink your absinthe—just don't try them all at once, s'il vous plaît.