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bksmithey

pastis vs. absinthe

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Just returned from a tropical vacation, where I had my first pastis. I've only been drinking absinthe for a few weeks now, and prior to that my only experience with anise-flavored alcoholic drinks was sambuca, straight up and ornamented with a few coffee beans or something, once or twice in the distant past.

 

Second night at the bar I ordered a Ricard, it was served with a couple of ice cubes and a small carafe of water. I thought it was a really nice aperitif after the day's heat and humidity, as we eased into the evening's heat and humidity. Sitting outide, gazing at the blue-green Caribbean, pouring, sipping, and relaxing. A Ricard (or two) became part of the nightly ritual for the rest of the week.

 

A couple days after returning home, the wife and I louched up a couple of glasses of Lucid. Wow. I had forgotten what I was missing.

 

After last week, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Ricard, a reminder of a really wonderful holiday with my family. But while pastis may have been developed as a replacement for absinthe, it's certainly no substitute.

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Do a search and you'll find pastis have been discussed often. I enjoy a cool, refreshing pastis on a hot summer's evening. Henri Bardouin is considered around here as one of the best. Ricard and Pernod are fairly drinkable but there are better choices. Mmmm, HB. I may have a glass, tonight. Thanks for jogging my failing memory! :cheers:

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Thanks T. -- yes, I've read the reviews and found a few other threads regarding pastis, I figured there would be plenty of experience here. I've seen the Ricard and Pernod in local stores but hadn't really been looking so don't know if there's anything beyond that. I'll keep my eyes open for the HB, thanks for the tip!

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Hi greenimp, hey, I did see (contemporary) Herbsaint next to the Ricard and Pernod, I was wondering what it was. I just did a quick wikipedia lookup, sounds like it was also created as an absinthe substitute. I'll have to give it a try someday. Is it sweetened, as the Ricard seems to be? That was what really hit me after returning from vacation, the Lucid came across with a wonderful bitterness (not overpowering, but really refreshing), where the Ricard is quite sweet.

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Herbsaint isn't like Pernod or Ricard, it's not as tooth achingly sweet as what Pernod-Ricard mixes up these days.

 

I always manage to have a bottle of Herbsaint around the house somewhere. ;)

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So, Imp, when do you think or do you think that the Legendre family will produce an absinthe? They still have the ability, and judging by the number of liqueurs and bar mixers they produce, they obviously have the volume capability, or could ramp it up quickly.

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So, Imp, when do you think or do you think that the Legendre family will produce an absinthe?

 

 

Marion Legendre sold the company to Sazerac back in 1949, so the family is no longer involved with making Herbsaint.

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Just returned from a tropical vacation, where I had my first pastis. ... A Ricard (or two) became part of the nightly ritual for the rest of the week.

 

Just FYI for some of you...

 

It is my understanding the Ricard coined the term "Pastis" to refer to their product specifically, and products of that type (post-ban absinthe substitutes) in general.

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The term "pastis" is often used casually to identify a 'non-absinthe' as being as such, but in fact, the term "pastis" refers to a specific subcategory of aniseed liqueurs, and can only be used (legally) by those liqueurs that meet certain legal criteria:

 

"For an aniseed-flavoured spirit drink to be called 'pastis' it must also contain natural extracts of liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which implies the presence of the colorants known as 'chalcones' as well as glycyrrhizic acid, the minimum and maximum levels of which must be 0,05 and 0,5 grams per litre respectively. (*FYI - The presence of licorice root, either directly macerated or added as an extract, is the source of its characteristic yellowish tint and flavor.*)

 

Pastis contains less than 100 grams of sugar per litre and has a minimum and maximum anethole level of 1,5 and 2 grams per litre respectively."

 

(EEC Council Regulation 1576/89)

 

 

So as one can see, pastis is a liqueur d'anise, but a liqueur d'anise is not necessarily a pastis.

 

Just FYI

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There is also a further division into pastis de Marseilles (that does not necessarily has to be made in Marseilles in accordance to law) and pastis a'lancienne, sometimes referred as to "d'antan".

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Legendre, Jung & Wulff, and Yochim, tried lobbying in 1934 for an appellation designating their products as New Orleans Absinthe, but were unable to get approval to use the term.

 

Herbsaint, Milky Way, Nouvelle Orleans, and a small handful of other American products of the era seemed to differ from the style popularized in France by Ricard, Pernod, etc.

 

It's a shame that the other American products didn't grab enough market share to survive longer, Jung & Wulff in particular had a good deal of experience making absinthe, so it would been interesting to see how these might have developed over the long haul.

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Henri Bardouin is considered around here as one of the best. Ricard and Pernod are fairly drinkable but there are better choices.

Agreed, Pernod being one of the worse Pastis over here, tasteless. I personally favor Anisés over Pastis, Ponsec from Guy being my number 1 (distilled with green anise).

How much is a liter of Ricard or Pernod in the US?

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I heard a rumour once that the name "pastis" comes from "pastiche," because some of these products are just a pastiche of absinthe.

 

Given that the French Wikipedia entry for pastis states "Il signifie aussi : ennui, situation désagréable ou confuse (quel pastis !)," roughly translated as "It also means: boredom, disagreeable or confused situation (what a pastis!)" maybe there's some truth in the rumour ...

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Ponsec from Guy being my number 1

Man, that stuff is good. I like it better than a lot of absinthes, including Guy's. I wish that was easier to get over here. There's only one online vendor that will ship it to the US.

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Thanks all, lots of interesting details. I really appreciate the historical notes. I'm always impressed with the depth of knowledge around here!

 

How much is a liter of Ricard or Pernod in the US?

 

At my local store it was marked $30 for 750 ml Ricard, Pernod was a little less. The store was having an anniversary sale, so the price I paid was discounted 15%.

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