Pernod is a French anise-flavored liqueur that’s worth seeking out! Drink it with water as the French do, or use it in cocktails.
Looking for a bottle Pernod, or simply wondering what it is? This anise-flavored liqueur is very popular in France, but it’s still relatively undiscovered in the US. In fact, it’s loads less popular than it’s anise-flavored cousin liqueur, absinthe. What is Pernod, and what’s the difference versus absinthe? And what about Pastis? They’re all in the same family. Keep reading!
What is Pernod?
Pernod aka Pernod Anise is a French anise-flavored liqueur invented in 1920, after absinthe was banned in 1915. Making it without wormwood made it a legal liquor (absinthe was thought to be hallucinogenic at the time).
Pernod is made with star anise, fennel, and other herbs and botanicals. The anise or black licorice flavor is very strong, though some say it’s not quite as potent as similar liqueurs like absinthe and pastis. It’s manufactured and distributed by the company Pernod Ricard.
What’s in a name? There are a few anise-flavored products that can be easily confused. Here’s a breakdown of similar liqueurs:
- Pastis aka Ricard Pastis is another 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, and it’s also manufactured by the Pernod Ricard company.
- Pernod Absinthe is an absinthe manufactured by the Pernod Ricard company. It’s not the same product as Pernod Anise because it’s an absinthe.
Why was absinthe banned? Read more at our Quick Guide to Absinthe.
What does Pernod taste like?
Pernod Anise has a strong black licorice flavor, with subtle notes of fennel, coriander and mint. It’s best served as the French drink Pastis, diluted with water so it becomes cloudy (called the ouzo effect).
How much alcohol is in Pernod? It is 40% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it has a very high alcohol content. It’s equivalent to hard alcohol like as whiskey, rum, vodka and gin.
Are there any Pernod substitutes? Substitute another French anise liqueur like absinthe, Pastis or anisette. Other comparable substitutes are Sambuca, an Italian anise liqueur, or Ouzo, a Greek anise liqueur.
Why we like it
Pernod is a pungent, strong anise liqueur that’s extremely refreshing to drink with water as the French do (also called a Pastis). It tastes like black licorice, so we don’t recommend it if you’re not a fan of black jelly beans!
You can also use Pernod in cooking, where it pairs well with seafood. It pairs well with salmon, shrimp, and French recipes like bouillabaisse (seafood stew).
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, Pernod is mid-priced. A 750 ml bottle costs about $30.
Most popular Pernod drinks
It’s at its best sipped on with water or sparkling water, or you can mix it up into drinks. Here are a few drinks to try:
The most popular way to drink Pernod? With water, as the French do! It's also called a Pastis. 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.
Ingredients: Pernod, water
The Sazerac is the official drink of New Orleans and one of the oldest cocktails there is. The exact history of the drink is murky, but it was invented in New Orleans in the mid-1800’s. The surprise element: Pernod gives a black licorice finish to each sip! Use it in place of absinthe here.
Ingredients: Cognac, rye whiskey, Pernod, sugar cube, Peychaud’s bitters
The Corpse Reviver is a family of cocktails with a humorous name: indicating the strength of the drink was enough to bring a body back from the grave. It’s a classic gin sour cocktail that’s tart and zingy from lemon juice and orange liqueur, with a hint of licorice on the finish. Use Pernod in place of absinthe for the anise-flavored liqueur.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, dry vermouth or Lillet Blanc, Pernod
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Here’s how to drink Pernod like the French do! This cocktail is a refreshing mix of the anise-flavored liqueur and water.
- 1 ½ ounces Pastis or Pernod
- 6 ounces ice cold mineral water
- Ice, optional
- Add the Pernod to a small highball glass.
- Top with the water and enjoy. You can dilute with more or less water as desired.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Poured
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Pernod, Pernod drink
More cocktail guides
Need more liquor guides? We’ve got them! Here’s all you need to know about home bartending:
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- Fernet Branca Guide Here’s why people love this Italian bitter.
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Let us know if you have any questions!
Love the blog, info and recipes! Thank you!
Really dislike the pop-up advertising..🙄
When living on the Isle if Jersey ( Channel isles) I finished off my seasonal work by picking tomatoes with many people from Britany ( France) that was a lot closer to the island (once granted to England by William the Conquerer! These people were lovely to work with & even though I didnt know a word of French or the version that they preferred I was invited (along with a girlfriend) to the wedding of 2 of them! The wedding feast lasted over 4 hours with at least 6 courses, & the ” apperativ” we were given & never ever forgot after more than 50 years , was PERNOD & GRENADINE! It was fabulous tasting, very strong & I always remember the drink turning milky pink when the grenadine ( pomegranite syrup) was added!
We’ll have to try it! Thank yuo.