Warm summer weather this week, coupled with Bastille Day tomorrow, got me imagining myself in Provence, drinking Pastis (a generic term for French anise flavored liqueurs). Normally, I'm drinking a High Life in a cold, dark bar, so indulge me for a minute.
Ideally it's a sunny afternoon at a café table, with a water pitcher and two small glasses - one with a few cubes of ice, the other Pernod.
Pouring water into the glass with Pernod decreases the alcohol content and changes the insoluibility of some of the ingredients, creating a milky white liqueuer (whoa, that sentence makes me sound way smarter than I really am).
Enjoying that ritual with the sun on my back, I sip and watch the world go by. For the classic aperitif, there is no place better to enjoy it than Les Zygomates by South Station, where General Manager Nick Daddona lined it up for me. The star anise flavor is quite strong, so you have to be a fan of licorice- however, in cocktails it can subtly add a lot.
A classic example:
Corpse Reviver #2
.75 oz Gin
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz Cointreau
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.
Optional orange peel garnish
When in the hands of a real pro, more liberal application can be appropriate. Steve Shur, a cocktail guru who also happens to be a bartender at the Boston College Club, offered up this libation when a customer asked him for an anise based cocktail.
Alexa’s Absinthe Punch
.75 St Germain
.75 lime juice
barspoon simple syrup (1/8 oz)
Stir ingredients over ice for 1 minute, strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass.
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