I raised the topic of Ted Breaux and the absinthe revival when chatting with @Splificator, yesterday, and he pointed out that, despite some sensationalism around its return, absinthe never really wound up playing a major role in the Cocktail Renaissance. Many bars offered “absinthe service”, and a few still do, but absinthe wasn’t really re-embraced as a cocktail ingredient.
Surveying the Modern Classics, three use absinthe: Jacob Briar’s Corpse Reviver Number Blue (a renovation of a classic), Phil Ward’s Joy Division (a modified Third Degree), and David Scape’s brilliant Paddington. @AudreySaunders’ French Pearl uses pastis. By comparison, literally hundreds of recipes from the 19th and 20th Centuries call for absinthe (and dozens more for pastis), and way back in the late formative years, bartenders were practically dashing the stuff into anything and everything.
In my opinion, absinthe should see more use today, particularly as an accent. I see it as one of the essential, inextricable flavorings of mixology, with a similar stature to bitters. Absinthe adds sophistication and adulthood to cocktails. For many, anise may be an acquired taste, but so are many liquors and liqueurs, and the hordes are now drinking Negronis, so clearly they can handle it.