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Pastis - more than just Pernod.  Add/Read Comments

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Until a press released arrived detailing Le Grand Cru Pastis my knowledge of this quintessential French drink was sketchy to say the least. Surprising then, to find that its origins lie in Absinthe.

When Absinthe was banned in France, due to the toxic nature of the wormwood from which it was made, producers selected star anise, angelica and cloves as a substitute. Drunk with chilled water (one part Pastis to 3-4 parts water) Pastis is now France's most popular spirit.

Under French law an aperitif can be called 'Pastis' provided it is made with liquorice ('reglisse' in French), anethole (a constituent of Star Anise) and contains a maximum of 100g of sugar per litre. Today many cheap Pastis only contain these minimum ingredients and the tradition of slowly infusing herbs and spices individually with alcohol before blending is dispensed with. In the case of Pastis Henri Bardouin however, a complex recipe of 50 natural herbs (with such exotic ingredients as Mugwort, Sage, Cardamon, Tonka Bean, Grains of Paradise, and Nutmeg) is still used to produce a 'Grand Cru' Pastis' with superb aromas and great length and complexity. It is also recommended served with 5-6 parts water due to its intense, richer flavour.

The flavour is clean and pure - and in terms of length incredible with a complex array of liquorice and spices that cascade across the palate.

Available from Arthur Rackham for �16.99.

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