We're celebrating French Week here at The Kitchn, and what could be more definitively French than pastis, the anise-flavored liquor you often find in Parisian sidewalk cafes? And sure, we love sipping it in refreshing cocktails, but is there really anything better than a boozy dessert?
If you're not familiar with pastis, it's a liquor immensely popular in Southern France comprised of star anise, peppercorns, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, licorice and a bit of sugar. Many people drink pastis for its incredible thirst-quenching properties and there are lengthy debates regarding the best way to serve it. We especially love the liquor because it's celebrated as a national aperitif and before-meal drink. The French aren't shy about busting out their booze in the middle of the day. It's often diluted with water when served (5 parts water to 1 part pastis) and it begins to turn from yellow in color to rather cloudy—many attribute this transformation to part of the fun of drinking the liquor.
Sound a bit like absinthe? Although the two are commonly linked due to their flavor profiles, they're actually quite different. Pastis isn't made with grand wormwood and it gets its anise flavor from from a distillation of star anise, whereas absinthe gets its flavor from green anise.
Now that you're a pastis pro, it's time to try the refreshing liquor in your favorite dessert recipe. You can buy pastis macarons in France (the ones pictured up top are from Sève in Lyon). The way we see it: the next best thing to sipping your favorite liquor on its own is spiking a fabulous dessert.
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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