Bitters/Absinth/Anisette and Pastis
The common denominator here is “botanical” flavouring.
Bitters, originally developed as medicinal concoctions to treat digestive and stomach ailments have today become favourite digestives and cocktail as well as flavour enhancers in foods, deserts and other cocktails. Bitters come in a variety of forms including Aromatic, Amaro, Orange, liqueurs, and more.
Absinth, banned in 1915 in many countries including the U.S. slowly found its way back in to the mainstream in the 1990’s when many countries lifted the ban following European food and beverage regulations that did not prohibit the production or use of this spirit. Known as a bohemian culture favourite, Absinth was the drink of choice for many artists and writers including Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Alan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso amongst others. The bitter, anise flavoured Absinth, nicknamed the “Green Fairy” has often been portrayed as an addictive psychoactive drug and a hallucinogen which had much to do with it being banned. This ban in turn led to the creation of similar Anise flavoured spirits that were enjoyed in much the same manner as Absinth – adding just a splash of water – but were not illegal.
Anisette and Pastis, most popular if not solely to the French, is one of France’s most popular aperitifs, enjoyed in a medium sized highball glass with one cube of ice and a splash of cold water which turns the clear liquor into a cloudy drink. Anisette is produced through a distillation process whereas Pastis uses a maceration process, but both share a similarity in taste, powerful and intriguing but at the same time sweet and agreeable!