[pa-stees; Fr. pas-tees]

Pastis (or /pæsˈtɪs/) is an anise-flavored liqueur and apéritif from France, typically containing 40–45% alcohol by volume, although there exist alcohol-free varieties.

When absinthe was banned in France in 1915, the major absinthe producers (then Pernod Fils and Ricard, who have since merged as Pernod Ricard) reformulated their drink without the banned wormwood component, a heavier focus on the aniseed flavor using more star anise, sugar and a lower alcohol content creating pastis, which remains popular in France today. Pastis has changed considerably since its first creation based on market preference.


Pastis is normally diluted with water before drinking. Generally five volumes of water for one volume of pastis, but often raw pastis is served together with a jug of water for the drinker to blend together according to preference. The resulting decrease in alcohol percentage causes some of the constituents to become insoluble, which changes the liquour's appearance from dark transparent yellow to milky soft yellow, a phenomenon also present with absinthe. The drink is consumed cold, with ice, and is considered a refreshment for hot days. Ice cubes can be added after the water to avoid crystallization of the anethole in the pastis. However, many pastis drinkers refuse to add ice, preferring to drink the beverage with cool spring water.

Although it is consumed throughout France, especially in the summer, pastis is generally associated with southeastern France, especially with the city of Marseille where it is nicknamed Pastaga, and with the clichés of the Provençal lifestyle, like pétanque. Pastis is also consumed in Senegal.

Pastis is probably one of the most popular beverages in France where 130 million liters are sold each year (more than 2 liters per inhabitant).

Cocktails with pastis

Some well known cocktails use pastis and syrups:

  • Mauresque (French for 'moorish') - pastis with orgeat syrup
  • Perroquet (French for 'parrot') - pastis with green mint syrup
  • Tomate (French for 'tomato') - pastis with grenadine syrup
  • Cornichon (French for 'gherkin') - pastis with banana syrup
  • Death in the afternoon (invented by Hemingway as an absinthe drink) - pastis with champagne


See also

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