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Absinthe vs Pastis

Posted on MsJekYll'z Absinthe Forum

Topic created by Captain Cronk
on Thu, 11 Dec 2008 at 14:49

Captain Cronk said on Thu, 11 Dec 2008 at 14:49...

what's the difference then? anyone know? i am guessing it's wormwood which isn't in Ricard

Old Nick said on Thu, 18 Dec 2008 at 08:05...

This article from the Financial Times might help:

"The truth is, however, that I, like many others, have fallen for the well-constructed myth of pastis. The main producers - chiefly Pernod-Richard - have successfully anchored their brands in the image of Provence and the south of France. The original home of pastis, however, was not the hot coast with its parasol pines, but Switzerland, with its snow-capped mountains and fir trees.

It was in Pontarlier on the French border that the first Pernods tinkered with a recipe invented by a man with the unpromising name of Pierre Ordinaire.

Elixir d'Absinthe had a kick to it then, provided by thujone, an oil found in wormwood, which, together with anise and fennel, formed one of a trinity of main ingredients.

It was the hallucinogenic wormwood that made the drink popular with oblivion seekers in metropolitan France and elsewhere during the 19th century.

As yet, there was no association with Provence or the south. The world-weary continued to drink absinthe until the French government banned it in 1915 for the sake of the war effort. It was about the same time as the British government introduced licensing hours, and the US Prohibition.

The killjoys were in their element then. Without wormwood, absinthe had no meaning. Instead households made up their own blends of aromatic herbs and spices and sunk them into neutral spirit. They called them pastis, a Provencal word which means mixture. Instead of wormwood, most of these domestic blends led on star anise, which was the flavour of any number of drinks popular around the Mediterranean basin: anisette, raki, arak, ouzo and others"

So yes it is wormwood, or rather the lack thereof, that is the difference.

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