Our spirited infatuation with the new generation of absinthe is at risk of waning after just a few years, I'm afraid. Its mystique as the green fairy inspiration juice of artistes, if anything, helped its case. It's slipping more because Americans have never really embraced anise-flavored herbaceous liqueurs, and especially not one that demands waiting for an antique fountain to slow-drip sugar cubes into syrup to get the party started.

Absinthe's best shot at popular success is in the punch bowl, it seems, especially if the Green Beast we re-created from London bartender Charles Vexenat for our block party is an indicator. It's beguilingly simple - one part absinthe, one part fresh lime juice, one part simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar), plus four parts water. Blend with ice and the beasty-eye floating rounds of thin-sliced cucumber, then watch the tangy smack of its cloudy brew refresh a crowd and make them veerry happy.

- Craig LaBan

We happily used vivid green Pernod absinthe ($69.99; code: 10806), but others will do, including the white Kubler on closeout sale ($37.99; 10800), locally made Vieux Carre ($54.99; 5899), or Lucid ($41.99; 10845).