Here’s how to make the classic French Pastis drink! It’s a refreshing mix of the anise-flavored liqueur and water.

Pastis drink

Looking to drink Pastis like the French do? We’re always up for a new liquor around here, and today it’s Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur from France. It’s very similar to Pastis: so similar, in fact, that you can drink it in the same way! The French dilute it with water so that it becomes beautifully cloudy and almost iridescent yellow. It’s sophisticated and refreshing: like drinking ice cold black licorice.

How to drink Pastis

This classic French drink works with Pernod or Pastis, two anise-flavored liqueurs that are similar to absinthe. In fact, Pastis was invented as an alternative to absinthe after it was banned in France in 1915. It became very popular in the 1930’s and is popular to this day. Here’s how the French drink Pastis:

  • Pour in a glass: Add 1 to 1 ½ ounces Pastis or Pernod to a highball glass.
  • Dilute with water: Serve with a pitcher of ice cold mineral water so the drinker can dilute the liqueur to their liking. The typical dilution is 4 to 6 parts water to 1 part Pastis.
  • Observe the ouzo effect: Watch while the liquid turns cloudy to a milky soft yellow: this is known as the ouzo effect or louching (in France).
Pernod

The ouzo effect, aka louche effect

How does it all work? The ouzo effect is an oil in water emulsion that occurs when water is mixed with anise-flavored liqueurs like Pastis, Pernod, absinthe, ouzo, and more. This type of emulsion happens when the two liquids mix and doesn’t even need whisking, like a typical vinaigrette emulsion.

The phenomenon has a technical scientific explanation, but here’s the gist of it: Adding water to the liqueur changes the percent of alcohol in the drink, making some particles become insoluble. This is a popular way to drink absinthe (an absinthe drip) and ouzo as well as Pastis.

More about Pastis and Pernod

Pastis and Pernod are both French anise-flavored liqueurs: and the top brands are made by the same company. They’re interchangeable in this drink, and you can even call it a Pastis when it’s made with Pernod. (We won’t tell!) Here are a few notes about these liqueurs:

  • Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur invented in France in the 1930’s as an alternative to absinthe. It has a very strong black licorice flavor and is lightly sweetened, whereas absinthe is not. A popular brand is called Ricard Pastis.
  • Pernod is another anise-flavored liqueur from France that is also lightly sweetened. It’s very popular in France and is a bit easier to find here in the States than Pastis. A popular brand is called Pernod Anise (made by the Pernod Ricard company, which incidentally also makes Ricard Pastis). It is very similar to Pastis and considered interchangeable in this drink. Read more at Quick Guide to Pernod.
Louching or ouzo effect

Will I like the Pastis drink?

Do you love the flavor of black licorice? If so, you’ll adore a Pastis! But if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like black jelly beans, keep in mind that it’s an acquired taste. It certainly feels very sophisticated and French, perfect for cooling off on the patio or to sip with a good book.

More anise flavored drinks

There are lots of classic cocktails with absinthe that have a similar flavor to the Pastis! Here are a few of the top absinthe drinks you’ll love:

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Pastis Drink


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the classic French Pastis drink! It’s a refreshing mix of the anise-flavored liqueur and water.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ½ ounces Pastis or Pernod
  • 6 ounces ice cold mineral water
  • Ice, optional

Instructions

  1. Add the Pastis to a small highball glass. Add ice, if desired (it’s not traditional, but you can do so if desired).
  2. Top with the water and enjoy. You can dilute with more or less water as desired.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Poured
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: Pastis drink, Pastis

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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