Liqueurs are frequently flavored because spices, herbs and/or fruits are infused into the alcohol. They can be traced back to herbal medicines, and were popular in Italy as early as the 13th century. The majority of liqueurs have a lower alcohol percentage (or “proof”) than spirits, with most liqueurs having a proof between 15 and 30 percent alcohol by volume.
Anise is an herb made from a flowering plant commonly found in the eastern Mediterranean region and southwest Asia. Centuries ago, anise was prescribed as a relaxant and a laxative. Drink makers wanted to take advantage of this plant”s relaxing characteristics and decided to combine it with their liquor.
Marie Brizard, a resident of Bordeaux, France, took the initiative and created a sweet anise flavored liqueur. However, it was absinthe — created by Henri-Louis Pernod in Jura (on the border of France and Switzerland) — that became extremely popular throughout the world. Henri-Louis Pernod went on to create the famous Pernod Company.
Types of Anise Flavored Liqueurs
Different types and variations of anise liqueurs can be found in different parts of the world. The list of anise flavored liqueurs includes:
- Absinthe, from the area at the French-Swiss border
- Anesone, popular in Spain
- Ouzo, from in Greece
- Pastis, popular in France
- Raki, popular in Turkey
- Sambuca, popular in Italy.
Drinks with Anise Liqueur
Anise liqueur has a very distinct flavor that can be enhanced by a variety of other ingredients. Here are some anise recipes to try.
This cocktail was developed two centuries ago in Switzerland.
- 1 1/2 oz. Pernod (or other type of anise liqueur)
- 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 egg white.
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and serve in tumbler glasses filled with ice. Top off with soda water and decorate with a slice of lemon.
- 1 oz. Anise liqueur
- 1 oz. lychee liqueur
- splash of lemon juice.
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and serve in chilled martini glasses. Garnish with mint leaves and lycee.
Absinthe is an extremely alcoholic version of anise liqueur. It typically has between 45 and 75 percent alcohol by volume. Absinthe is extremely potent, so it is typically watered down before drinking. Interestingly, when water is added to anise liqueur, the clear liquid becomes cloudy in nature.
Absinthe is technically not a liqueur, as no sugar is added to the drink before bottling. It originated in Switzerland and became extremely popular in Europe, especially in France.
The drink contains thujone, a chemical associated with the spirit”s psychedelic effects. However, science has proven that thujone has very little, if any, effect on the brain. In the 1990s, absinthe began to become popular again, as the prohibition against it was lifted in many European countries. Today, there are over 200 brands of absinthe.