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All about anise liquor
There’s probably some biological reason for why aniseed evokes such a powerful reaction from its lovers and haters, but that’s beyond our expertise here at Drizly. What we do know is that this flowering plant packs a punch. Anise liqueur – or Anisette - is a legit part of our cocktail vocabulary (Sazerac, anyone?), so before you go running away from it, remember that you don’t have to drink it straight, and that as an ingredient this potent can be really good in moderation!
Where does anise liqueur come from?
If you drew a line across the Mediterranean from Portugal to Turkey, you’d pretty much cover the “Anisette Belt”. The product goes by different names and has different strengths. They call it “Anise del mono” in Spain, “Sambuca” in Italy, and “Raki” in Turkey.
What goes into anise liqueur?
The spice blend is the most crucial aspect of Anise Liqueur production. The alcohol foundation that houses this drink is very neutral; it’s really just a canvas for the flavorings. While all producers use aniseed and perhaps star anise, they can also add other spices like cinnamon, cardamom or full-on licorice. Then, to make it a liqueur, both water and sugar help dilute and sweeten the product so it’s around 20-35% alcohol.
What does anise liqueur taste like?
The main flavor of anise liqueur is definitively licorice - an assertive flavor, to be sure. Depending on the spice blend, you can certainly pick up other characters, though. The sugar addition adds a comforting sweetness and can make for a very viscous, silky mouthfeel.
Is absinthe anise liqueur?
Not exactly. Anise is a key ingredient in absinthe, but absinthe isn’t sweetened and it’s usually far too strong to be considered a liqueur. You could call it an honorary member of this category, but it’s really its own spirit.
Drinking anise liqueur
Anise’s digestive properties make it a great way to cap off a meal. Its herbal character clears your palate and is quite refreshing – even if black licorice isn’t your thing. This drink really excels in cocktails, though. Used in moderation, it is a key ensemble player in classic drinks like Sazerac. In fact, it adds great complexity in any whiskey drink. The trick is not to overdo it.