French name (Provençal for "mixture") for a herbal spirit with 40 to 45% alcohol by volume. The drink must not be confused with an anisée, which is made from various basic ingredients (grain, marc, brandy, etc.) and then flavoured with aniseed. These are, for example, arrack or ouzo. On the other hand, a pastis is produced from the basic ingredient aniseed, but this is increasingly being replaced by star anise (this unrelated plant has a very similar aroma). Other ingredients are fennel, various herbs, water, sugar and alcohol.
The typical French pastis has its origins in the 1915 ban on the production, distribution and consumption of the herbal liqueur absinthe and similar spirits. In Provence, farmers secretly produced a "pastiche" (imitation) as a substitute. In 1922, aniseed liqueurs were allowed again in France because, unlike absinthe, they do not contain thujone, which is toxic above a certain level. Well-known Pastis brands include Pastis 51 and Ricard by Pernod Ricard. Pernod is not a pastis, but an anisée. As with all aniseed spirits, a characteristic milky discolouration occurs when water is added - the so-called Louche effect. See also under Distillation and Spirits.
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