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FOOD 101: Anisette Vs. Sambuca

July 2nd is National Anisette Day, a clear liqueur.

Before commercial production, people made their own liqueurs (and made their own wine, brewed their own beer, etc.). The first commercial anisette was introduced by Marie Brizard in 1755.

Many people confuse anisette with sambuca, another clear liqueur. Other sweet anise-based liquors from France include Pernod and Ricard Pastis. Pastis is sometimes confused with anisette, but it is made with both aniseed and licorice root.

While both are popularly served with after-dinner coffee:

  • Anisette is a French liqueur flavored with anise seeds. Because of its strong flavor, it is often mixed with a splash of water, which turns it from clear to milky white.
  • Sambuca is an Italian liqueur made from star anise or green anise, along with elderflower berries and licorice. It is traditionally served with three coffee beans, which represent health, wealth and fortune.
  • Pastis is a French apéritif that is amber in color. As with anisette, some people like to dilute the flavor slightly with water, which turns the color to a milky greenish-yellow.
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    Similar-tasting spirits, which can be sweet or dry, include:

  • Absinthe (originating in Switzerland)
  • Anis (Spain)
  • Arak (the Levant)
  • Kasra (Libya)
  • Mistra and Ouzo (Greece)
  • Ojen (Spain)
  • Pernod (France)
  • Raki (Turkey)
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    USES FOR ANISETTE

    Beyond cocktails, anisette is used in conventional foods, including:

  • Baking, particularly biscotti and cookies
  • Flan (custard), sweet and savory
  • Meatloaf
  • Tomato sauce
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    Check out these savory recipes.

    Make anisette biscotti with this recipe from Mario Batali.

     

    Floranis Anisette
    [1] Floranis, also known as Anis Gras, was created in 1872 in Algiers, Algeria, by the Gras brothers, using the anisette recipe that had been in their family for generations (photo © La Martiniquaise).

    Marie Brizard Vintage Anisette Bottle
    [2] Marie Brizard sold its first bottle of anisette in 1755. Two hundred years later they released this bottle, from the 1950s. You can buy it from The Whisky Exchange.

     

      




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