Fairy Tales

It's the magic hour for absinthe at Kendall's Brasserie

We're no longer getting happy at 5 p.m. We're getting green.

Turns out, so is Paul Sanguinetti. The head barman of Patina Group has made it his pet project to revive the centuries-old "green hour" tradition–the pre-dinner consumption of absinthe popularized by 19th-century Parisians, and, more recently, by diners at of-the-moment bistros such as Brooklyn's Maison Premiere.

Sanguinetti recently debuted his expanded aperitif program–which includes a dozen absinthe and pastis varieties culled from European and American producers–at Downtown's Kendall's Brasserie, the oft-overlooked French restaurant hidden below the soaring architecture of the L.A. Music Center.

There, the traditional preparation of absinthe is entrancing: Using an antique drip, the potent spirit is diluted with chilled water and a sugar cube, perfuming the air with its distinct black licorice aroma. We recommend sipping France's Jade Nouvelle Orleans ($14), La Clandestine ($14) from Switzerland and Vieux Carré from ($12) Pennsylvania.

Absinthe is also incorporated into suave cocktails, such as the Improved Absinthe Frappé ($12), lashed with bitters and maraschino liqueur then blended with ice, or the Death in the Afternoon ($14) a Hemingway-strength mixture of absinthe and champagne.

Our plan come quitting time? To order a plate of oysters, sip a frosty cocktail and gaze longingly across the street at Grand Park. It's not quite Paris, but it's a start.