Pastis s’il vous plaît


Pastis is the drink of Provence.  To be enjoyed on a hot summer day when nothing is going on, and you don’t want anything going on.  Pastis is best enjoyed on the terrace in the sun or outside a quaint cafe.  Take in the scenery or just watch people hurrying by while your relaxing with Une Pastis.  For some unknown reason, Pastis only tastes right in Provence.  The picture is just an example and is not intended as any form of advertisement.

The origin of Pastis is unknown.  Many say that Paul Ricard invented it, while many others say it was Henry Louis Pernod.  The roots of Pastis come from the ancient drink of Absinthe.  Absinthe is made from the flowers and leaves of wormwood.  Absinthe has a light green color, had a licorice taste and was mixed with water poured over a holed spoon filled with sugar.  The resulting mix was drunk.  The potency of Absinthe in the 1800′s was between 45% – 90% alcohol by volume or top alcohol of 180 proof.  It is even said that Van Gogh cut off his ear while drunk on Absinthe.  Absinthe was outlawed in France and other countries in 1915, and remained illegal until about the year 2000.  It is now being produced once again.

After the ban of Absinthe, both Pernod and Ricard separately developed a new drink called Pastis.  Regular Pastis is 40% by volume, with Pastis de Marseille being 45%.  Pastis is drunk by mixing the liqueur with cold water, usually 5 parts water to one part Pastis.  Pastis has the same licorice taste as the old Absinthe, and is wonderful.  Pastis is pronounced with the strong S at the end.  If you drop the S, you will be served a lozenge.

Ever been stuck with a nice bottle of wine and no corkscrew?  Here’s how to open that wine.