The Whitney Restaurant in Detroit to Offer Once Banned Absinthe


The Whitney Restaurant in Detroit's Midtown district has dedicated a room on the third floor of the mansion to serve absinthe, an alcoholic, exotic anise-flavored aperitif that was once legally banned in the U.S. and other countries based on its supposed mythic mind-altering effects.

“Absinthe has a unique flavor and a mysterious and exotic history,” says Bud Liebler, owner of The Whitney Restaurant. “We thought featuring it in the Ghostbar at The Whitney would be the perfect way to reintroduce absinthe to Detroit.”

Once considered an “illicit, intoxicating” beverage, today’s absinthe has been modified and legalized. During the spirit’s height in the late 19th and early 20th century, it was popular among writers and artists including Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemingway.

Liebler says the spirit will be poured in several varieties Wednesdays through Sundays.  He says Sundays will feature ”Death in the Afternoon,” a classic, Hemingway-inspired champagne and absinthe cocktail along with live music, an omelet station, and light brunch. Other cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and The Whitney’s full dinner menu will also be available in the Absinthe Room.

In July, The Whitney added a retail bakery on its third floor, offering wedding cakes, sheet cakes, tortes, and individual pastries.