For those looking for a flavor profile similar to the anise-flavored aperitif of pastis, but that isn’t alcoholic, there are a few great alternatives. Ouzo is a popular option, as it provides the taster with many of the same licorice-like flavors provided by pastis.
Another substitute is absinthe, although its higher alcohol content might mean that it isn’t suitable to everyone’s taste. Non-alcoholic beverages such as Pernod Pastis and Ricard soft drink have recently become more widely available and provide drinkers with a complete experience without any negative effects associated with alcohol consumption. So whatever your preferences may be, chances are there’s something out there to meet them.
What is Pastis?
Pastis is a classic French anise drink that comes in many forms. It was created by Paul Ricard in 1932 as an alternative to absinthe and soon became popular throughout the country. Made from star anise and other botanicals, Pastis often has a sweet licorice flavor combined with a slight bitterness.
The traditional way to drink Pastis is to mix it with 5 parts cold water but the amount of water can vary depending on taste preferences. Many people enjoy having it “on the rocks” with plenty of ice cubes.
Even though Pastis has been around for nearly 90 years, it’s still seen as a modern-day way to enjoy French culture and traditions even outside of France.
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Why Substitutes Pastis?
Pastis has always been a popular way for those looking for a drink that packs flavor and punch. Whether it’s after-dinner drinks, entertaining friends, or just something to sip poolside on a hot summer afternoon, pastis is the perfect substitute for other spirits.
It has an anise-like flavor which is both smooth and unique–additional citrus or Mediterranean herbs from the local market can further enliven its taste. Plus, many of these oils are known for their health benefits as well:
for example, fennel has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which may be helpful in preventing certain illnesses. All this richness when combined makes pastis a great choice, whatever the occasion!
8 Best Pastis Substitutes
Are you a fan of pastis? If so, you may be wondering what the best substitutes for this anise-flavored spirit are. Here are some options to consider the next time you’re in the mood for a tasty drink. Cheers!
Pernod is a type of anise-flavored liqueur that has been used as a substitute for pastis since the 19th century. It is an essential ingredient in classic French drinks such as absinthe and sazerac, commonplace French pastis recipes, and cocktails like the Corpse Reviver No. 2. Today, many aficionados use Pernod not just as a pastis substitute but also to add herbal complexity to their favorite drinks.
This can be done by adding small amounts of Pernod to existing recipes or by creating entirely new concoctions with this amazing spirit. Besides its applications in cocktails, Pernod can also be used in cooking; it adds a licorice-like flavor that pairs nicely with fish and seafood dishes, salads, vegetables sauces, desserts, and more. No matter how you choose to use Pernod, its complexity and depth of flavors will make any drink or dish extraordinary!
2. Pimm’s No. 1
Pimm’s No. 1 is a popular British spirit, originally developed in the 1840s by landlord James Pimms as a digestive aid. It is usually used as a substitute for pastis and combines herbal flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus peel with gin. When using Pimm’s No. 1, it is essential that it be diluted with chilled ginger ale or lemonade to enhance the subtle complex flavors most effectively.
Even though Pimm’s No.1 has similar flavors to pastis, its distinctively milder taste and smooth texture set it apart from its French counterpart pastis. Ultimately, Pimm’s No. 1 is ideal for anyone aspiring to recreate classic British summer drinks like the ever-popular Pimms Cup!
Sambuca has a unique crunchy flavor that makes it an ideal substitute for its spirit cousins, Pastis and Ouzo. This Italian liqueur is distinctive in its taste – the result of incorporating star anise and elderberry among its other ingredients. Sambuca is typically enjoyed as a digestif after dinner or with your coffee on a nice afternoon.
Though traditionally served neat, Sambuca can be used to craft complex cocktails by adding mixers like tonic water or apple juice. For those looking to explore French and Mediterranean flavors in their drinks, but may not have Pastis or Ouzo on hand, then Sambuca is the perfect substitution.
Ricard is an anise-flavored pastis, originating from France, which makes a great substitute for traditional Pastis. It’s the perfect addition to any cocktail or beverage, especially when you want to bring out a distinct flavor without losing the strength and complexity of the drink.
To use it, first chill a tall glass with ice cubes. Add 1 part Ricard and 4 parts cold soda water into the glass. Stir well and garnish with your favorite fruits such as orange slices or star anise before serving. Its light and citrusy profile adds overall aroma to refresh your evenings!
As an alternative to the French liqueur, Pastis, Ouzo has become popular because of its comparable flavor and lower alcoholic content. It is a Greek aperitif, made from distilled wine with the addition of herbs, including aniseed, making it have a licorice taste and smell.
Typically served neat in small glasses, ouzo can also be diluted with cool water or with ice cubes and can also be used as a substitute for Gin in cocktails like Martinis and Gibsons.
One of its most common uses however is for traditional Ouzo-Kanaves, which consists of 2-3 parts Ouzo per 1 part water served with mezedes (savoury finger foods). For those looking to discover a new tipple to savour or explore the cultural drink experiences that Greece offers, then Ouzo is definitely worth trying!
Anisette is a liqueur that is often used as a substitution for Pastis. Its sweet flavor, created by anise seeds, adds a unique depth to any drinks. This makes it the perfect substitute for Pastis, as it allows you to get the same licorice-like taste plus something extra.
Anisette also pairs well with certain food and drink recipes that call for Pastis because it contains notes of orange peel and almond extract.
To use Anisette in place of Pastis simply mix one part anise seed-infused spirit with four parts water or simple syrup; garnish with slices of oranges and serve over ice. Enjoy the exotic flavor of this liquor wherever you’d like!
The popularity of absinthe has skyrocketed in recent years for a surprising reason: its use as a substitute for the French anise-flavored spirit known as Pastis. While the two may at first glance seem relatively similar, there are distinct differences between them.
For starters, absinthe is usually served with chilled water poured directly over the spirit, while Pastis is simply added straight to a glass of cold water. Additionally, both spirits contain aniseed aromas and flavors but are also highly distinctive.
For instance, with absinthe you can expect notes of citrus, wormwood, and other herbaceous aromas that produce a pleasantly bitter experience; meanwhile Pastis provides much more of an herbal and sweet aroma with significantly less bitterness. Finally, when enjoying either drink it’s important to note that they do have lower alcohol levels than traditional spirits so they cannot be consumed in excess like other spirits.
Ultimately, substituting absinthe for Pastis can make for a unique and interesting drinking experience even if its character is quite different from traditional spirits.
8. White Wine
White wine has gained popularity as a substitute for Pastis, a traditional anise-flavored apéritif popular in the south of France. As a cooking base, white wine can be used in place of Pastis to enhance flavor and for its tart character.
Used in dishes such as cream sauces, poached fish and omelettes, white wine lightens both flavors and texture. Additionally, it can also be mixed with sparkling water or lemon/lime juice to create lighter and more refreshing cocktails that still possess the pleasant traces of anise found in pastis.
With its versatility and lower alcohol content, white wine makes an excellent substitute for pastis, providing both experienced and novice chefs with numerous options for their culinary adventures.
Cynar – An artichoke-based liqueur from Italy
Cynar, a one-of-a-kind Italian liqueur, takes its name from the Italian word for artichoke, ‘cyano’. Made from numerous plants, herbs and leaves but primarily using Cynara scolymus (the common artichoke), the flavour of Cynar is distinctive with a bittersweet character.
It has a unique taste often compared to pastis but more bitter than traditional liqueurs due to the harsher nature of artichokes, resulting in complex flavours and an enjoyable aftertaste…one sip and you can easily understand why it is ubiquitous with southern Italian cocktails.
Popular mixed drinks include Cynar 70, in which the liqueur is mixed with prosecco and orange juice and Spritzambroni, made with Prosecco, Cynar and soda water. Whether sipped slowly or as part of a unique cocktail, one sip of this special liqueur will not soon be forgotten.
If you’re into herbal liqueurs and are looking for a drink with similar characteristics to pastis, then give one of these substitutes a try. From absinthe to white wine, there’s bound to be something on this list that takes your fancy. Cheers!