National Anisette Day – July 2

Did you know, the anise plant is within the same family as parsley?

Much like absinthe, the licorice-flavoured Anisette is sweeter due to the higher sugar content but has a lower alcohol level.

If you recall, the licorice flavour comes from the distillation of the seeds of the anise plant, specifically from the oil within the seed. This plant used to grow wild in the Mediterrenean and is one of the oldest spice plants. It dates as far back as 1500 BC Egypt.

It was believed to ward off the Evil Eye, to increase milk flow in nursing mothers; and to cure epilepsy. Ancient people used it as a remedy to snake bites and scorpion stings. It was also considered an aphrodisiac.

In Native American cultures, it is still used as a laxative.

According to WebMD, “Anise is used for upset stomach, intestinal gas, runny nose, and as an expectorant to increase productive cough, as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and as an appetite stimulant. Women use anise to increase milk flow when nursing, start menstruation, treat menstrual discomfort or pain, ease childbirth, and increase sex drive.

Other uses include treatment of seizures, nicotine dependence, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, and constipation.”

Anise Tea

Steep anise for 20 minutes then add cinnamon and honey for extra flavour. But where can you get anise? If you live in Canada, Bulk Barn carries whole anise seed. Ladies, the next time, try one and see if it eases that annoying pain. In the States, Trader Vic’s or Whole Foods are recommended but not guaranteed.

Produced in but not restricted to, the Bordeaux region of France, Anisette is made by grinding numerous types of seeds, anise, of course, and in some cases, fennel and coriander, into a neutral spirit. It is combined with a syrup then distilled together.

Anise Flavoured Liqueur

In Rome, anise was added to sweet cake and given out at the end of banquets to help with digestion. No doubt, the Italian tradition of putting a drop of anisette in your after dinner coffee originated from this idea.

Or, if you want to mix it, drop a shot of anisette into a glass of water, don’t pour it. It will turn milky color on contact.

If you thought Sambuca was the only licorice flavoured liqueur, try these on.

Pastis is made from star anise which originates from Asia. Pastis came along due tot he ban of anise in France.

Like Absinthe, Anisette comes from green anise in Europe.

However, Anisette is considered the oldest anise flavoured liquor.

“The Romans are said to have eaten spiced cake with anise to avoid indigestion after a large meal. Pythagoras said it would absolutely guarantee an absence of seizures. In England, in 1305, anise was so popular that King James I taxed it as a commodity, because he needed money to repair the London Bridge.”

Women, take female entrepreneur, Marie Brizard as an example of a powerful woman. She began her company of creating liqueur in a time when women HAD no power. They weren’t even allowed to sign company documents. To get around this law, Marie married a family friend who sign the documents while she created anisette.

Founded in Bordeaux, France in 1755, her family still owns the company, and have managed to keep the ingredients top secret. They now produce over 60 products. Not only liquor but essential oils as well.

Anise spritzed cocktail

Marie would be proud to know her company has won over 50 medals in the last 6 years for liqueur competitions.

Anisette can be a little harder to find in your local bars but there’s a trend of spritzing drinks with flavoured liqueurs. This one has anise flavour spritzed over a gin, cointreau and lemon mix at Ace Mercado in Ottawa.

Submitted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on July 2, 2017