Carefully Crafted Cocktails at Péché

Travel along 4th to Austin’s warehouse district and you will find Péché, an absinthe bar where careful craft is emphasized both in the impressive cocktail list and comforting European fare.

Though the towering absinthe drip fountain at the entry side of the bar would suggest that this anise and wormwood concoction were the only focus of the bar, craft and care are infused in all elements here. First, go ahead and order the pommes frites; the crispy, truffle oil laced fries and housemade, smoky ketchup will complement any drink you choose. Servers can guide you through the changing daily menu as well as the bar menu. The burgers are juicy, the rabbit confit fork tender, the salads well composed, and the sauces exquisite enough to lick from the plate (Péché staff will not judge you).

If the thought of forcing down rye whiskey conjures the contorted faces of westerners gulping fire water, then fear no more. Rye cocktails at Péché, such as the Sazarac and Old Pal, closely resemble the smooth, silky cocktail style one encounters at New Orleans staples such as Carousel Bar, showcasing rye’s versatility. Yet, if it is spice you crave, order anything containing their housemade ginger beer, like the Texas Mule, whose jalapeno infusion further beckons endorphin release. Or, salute The Big Easy with an order of Péché’s lively version of the Pimm’s Cup.

Venture out into items containing egg white and/or the more potent herbal liqueurs and your libation limits will be lengthened. The Silver Monk combines Chartreuse and egg white to create a jade-tinted, foamy mix whose grassy and herbaceous notes burst with the brightness of lime and prove the textural magnificence of egg white drinks.

Still, if it is the elusive green fairy you seek, you are safe to inquire here. Grab a seat at the bar; you will be educated. Why so little details about the absinthe? It is simply best experienced. Just start asking questions. Bartenders will be craning their necks eye-level with martini glasses, squinting and measuring, and shaking two drinks simultaneously with vigor. Do not think you are being ignored. Rather, you are being shown the care that will go into your cocktail. Answer questions posed to you (the staff can determine with impressive accuracy your tastes), and prepare—no matter your absinthe or cocktail of choice—to learn, enjoy, and stay a while.

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