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In the 1980's when I was growing up my parents had a drinks cabinet that contained many interesting alcoholic drinks and Pernod always fascinated my sister and I. It was partly due to the fact that it was off limits and also that my parents seemed to make fancy cocktails for there friends and family that looked so appealing. Anyway, my first taste of Pernod came in the form of a slightly weaker version of a cocktail called 'The King of Denmark' which is essentially 4 parts Pernod, 3 parts blackcurrant cordial, 8 - 10 parts water, it was interesting to say the least and on my second trying I substituted the water for lemonade.
Pernod is made from star anise, and contains herbs and spices such as coriander, it comes in a green glass bottle, with a white label that looks very chic, it is 40% abv and is clear on pouring. You can purchase 70cl bottles for around £16 in most supermarkets.
On opening a bottle of Pernod you will be greeted with a strong sweet scent of liquorice, so if you do not like liquorice I would avoid at all cost, as no matter what you mix it with you can still taste it. The taste of liquorice is fairly strong and tends to linger and penetrate all it is mixed with. I have tried it over ice but find it too strong for my tastes, I think it is best enjoyed in a cocktail. Other Pernod cocktails I have tried in include have include whisky, fruit cordials or even just water with a dash of mint leaves.
Overall I think Pernod is a versatile drink that I will always return to, it has a very distinctive liquorice flavour, is reasonably priced and is widely available to purchase, I recommend to all who like experimenting with flavours.
Pernod may not be a drink associated with football supporters, but it is the one I always drink when I go to the match. While others manage to down up to 8 pints on match days - that is a couple before hand and then the rest after a good result, I tend to stick to Pernod. The main reason is that it is the one drink I can drink all night and not get drunk. By that I don't mean it has not affect whatsoever and I certainly would not drive after more than one, but I can stay out a lot longer than I would be able to drinking anything else.
I am not sure how I first got round to drinking Pernod - the main idea I have dates back to the 1980s when we used to go to the Beer Festival in Hamburg. We had a drinking game which entailed playing Chase the Ace and the loser had to get a round of the most obscure or foul tasting drink the bar supplied. Someone chose Pernod for theirs and I was hooked.
I know that there are a number of different variations of aniseed drinks, but Pernod is certainly my favourite. It is manufactured in Paris and one of my favourite memories is sitting outside a bar on a warm night drinking Pernod and lemonade. One of my least favourite memories is the look the barman gave me when I asked for lemonade in it.
The drink itself comes out of the bottle totally clear and has a very strong aniseed smell. As soon as water or lemonade is added it becomes cloudy. It colder it is the better it tastes and I can't imagine an occasion when it would not be an ideal drink. I have had variations of it when I have been abroad but nothing matches up to the original.
Pernod has been around for almost 100 years - it was created when Absinthe was banned and the company needed to make something to keep going - and is not normally drunk the way I prefer it which is with lemonade. Often it is drunk straight and sometimes just with a bit of very cold water but no ice. People have made mistakes and bought me Pernod and black or Pernod and orange and I can't fully describe how awful they both taste.
Although I love the drink at first I didn't know exactly what else is in it apart from Star Anise and was surprised to find out that as well as the Eastern influence there is mint in it - I have certainly never been able to taste that. There is a taste of liquorice, fennel and various herbs and while I have heard there are also carnations in it I have not been able to find that out for sure. With fennel and herbs, I feel as if I should be able to count this as one of my 5 a day.
It is 40% Alc./Vol, but as I drink it with a lot of ice and lemonade I make each shot into a half pint drink so this could by why I can drink as much as I can. It can cost around £16 to £17 but I find lasts a long time so well worth the cost.
From my point of view this is the ideal drink for any occassion. It is just as enjoyable after the match, in any restaurant and especially when in front of the TV
In my youth (back in the early '80s) I experimented with a number of different alcoholic drinks in an attempt to identify some that I actually liked. I had a bad experience with a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream that I won at some evening do at the local village hall (I have never touched a drop of sherry since). The smell of whisky and brandy I found obnoxious (and still do) and rarely was able to get a glass of these spirits anywhere near by mouth. Gin and Vodka were alright, Malibu was quite appealling every now and then but I still longed to find a short that put a big smile on my face.
Then one day I chanced upon Pernod a French aniseed based liqueur (or "pastis" to be more accurate). Wow!!! This little honey is the business. Sweet, designed as an aperitif and with 40% alcohol by volume. I've since learnt that this tonsil smoothing beauty's star ingredient is the star anise, an asian fruit. Anise as in aniseed.
Anyway, Pernod has a distinctive aniseed bouquet which is one of those things that you either love or strongly dislike. Pernod is a yellowish colour and can be drinken neat although I would recommend it with a mixer. My personal favourite is Pernod, Coke and ice which may look like Veno's cough medicine and thbut tastes just heavenly - smooth,with a distinctive aniseed kick subdued and enhanced by the Coke. Other mixers that blend well with Pernod include blackcurrant cordial (Pernod and black), lemonade and, the purists' favourite water.
I love the taste of Pernod and it is my "short" of choice after a few pints of beer on a Saturday night. One issue is that it leaves the drinker with quite a thirst, the morning after, and quenching this with a non-alcoholic drink tends to bring back the taste of Pernod.
I first discovered Pernod during a college trip to France in 1989. We were catering students & part of our course was alcoholic beverages, so during a food & drink trip to France we visited the Pernod factory in Thuir. What an experience.
The tour of the factory was fantastic. During every part of the distilling process we had to stop & watch a video on a screen in each department. At the age of 18 I found this quite boring so we'll skip forward to the best bit at the end of the tour - the tasting!!!
We ended up in the factory bar where we were sat with different shots of each liqueur that Pernod made. I think there were 3 different types. Not all my fellow students liked pernod (it is an aquired taste) so I ended up drinking quite a few from the glasses left on the table. Not a wise move as we had to endure a very long & hot coach trip back to our hotel. Funnily enough after getting very drunk on Pernod, it hasn't put me off the drink & to this day it is my favourite drink.
**What is Pernod?**
Pernod is a liqueur, it's unique taste is well guarded, it's flavour being derived from a distillation of star anise with aromatic plants & herbs. You can only really discribe the taste as aniseed. As with all liqueurs it has quite a bite.
The star of anise, otherwise known as badiane, is cultivated exclusively in North Vietnam & Southern China. This star shaped fruit has a hot & sugary taste & an aniseed smell.
Once distilled to extract its essential oils, the essence is then combined with aromatic herbs.
In France the majority of aniseed spirits are actually Pastis which is a subtle aniseed & liquorice combination, produced through maceration, Pernod is in contrast made through distillation & contains NO liquorice.
**A bit of history**
What a lot of history this little liqueur has, at over 7,000 years old, it has quite a story to tell. It was 1st perscribed as a elixir to remedy the plague & cholera in the book of Genesis. For centuries to follow various concoctions containing aniseed were used to cure everything from toothache to tummy problems.
Towards the end of the 18th century a man named Major Dubied began distilling the elixir professionally . In 1805 his son-in-law Henri-Louis Pernod opened a distillery in France where Pernod would later become a well known name & also known as Frances national beverage.
In 1915 the Pernod Fils company closed temporarily due to the controversy surrounding the sometimes dangerous effects of absinthe, the ingredient was banned by the French goverment that very year. The factory re-opened 5 years later when a controlled form of anise liqueurs was made legal with a new absinthe free Pernod recipe.
The original Pernod drink consisted of 65-75% alcohol & absinthe "arthemisia absinthium" which gave pernod its reputation around the world. This drink had its own ritual which included pouring it into a absinthe glass over a sugar cube cradled in a perforated spoon. This ritual soon became a hit with the Bohemian society. Reputed to have been drunk by some of the great artists of modern time including Picasso, Wilde, Poe, Maupassant, Van Gogh, Verlaine, Baudelaire & Rimbald.
Pernod can be enjoyed in many ways, my favourite has to be long with blackcurrant & lemonade. It is traditionally enjoyed with water but can also be drunk with cola or other carbonated soft drinks.
Pernod is a very popular drink used in cocktails such as - French kiss ( Pernod, vodka, lemonade & blackcurrant),
Pernod colada ( Pernod, pineapple & coconut syrup),
Pernod Juleps (Pernod, lemon juice & lemonade),
Yellow pernod ( Pernod, lemon juice, coconut milk & pineapple juice),
Good & Plenty (Pernod, water & cranberry juice)
Last but no least the Hemingway which is Pernod & champagne.
As a chef I have used Pernod in many a popular dish. Pernod is usually added towards the end of cooking to retain its taste. Pernod is a natural companion to fish dishes & seafood. It enhances vegetables, especially dishes including fennel, celery & carrots; baked cabbage & onions & sauces served over broccoli or asparagus. Pernod works really well with flambé dishes.
As with most liqueurs it comes with quite a big price ticket attached. You can buy it in numerous size bottles. I currently have a large 100cl bottle, thanks to my lovely mother in law. A 70cl bottle will set you back around around £13-£14 in Tesco's.
If you like strong in taste & strong in flavour liqueurs then this is the one for you. Most people groan when I ask for a Pernod at a bar (maybe thats due to the price though?), its the sort of drink that you either love or hate. Most people will have an experience of their own with Pernod to tell you about. It's a liqueur with plenty of history & a story to tell & most people who drink it will have one of their own to tell.
The Spirit of France since 1805. In 1805, Henri-Louis PERNOD first created what was to become the most celebrated spirit on the cafe terraces of 19th Century Paris. Many famous artists, painters, poets and writers discovered its charms and their works included several references to their taste for this new aperitif. The secret of PERNOD's unique taste is well kept, but its flavour is derived from a distillation of star anise and aromatic plants and herbs