The liqueur that we call pastis is the direct descendant of the infamous absinthe, the favorite drink of fin de siecle Paris. The flavor comes from licorice and seeds of the star anise plant (an important ingredient in the outlawed absinthe), whose pods resemble starfish. Anis liqueurs are the most popular liqueurs in France and the Mediterranean countries. Absinthe was the classic anis spirit. An herbalist, working with a local plant called wormwood, thought to be a magical cure for everything, made the first batch. She found the curative properties of his discovery enhanced when he steeped the herbs in 136* alcohol, which became the traditional strength for absinthe. In the 1890s, artists, poets, and society types made absinthe, "the green goddess", the drink of cafe and bistro society. They drank it with ice-cold water, added drop by drop through a special spoon and a sugar cube. By 1905, reformers and politicians jumped on a bandwagon against the evils of absinthe. In 1915 absinthe, a convenient scapegoat for France's appalling losses in World War I, was banned. Absinthe had a huge following despite its increasingly bad public reputation. Most manufacturers used a trace of wormwood, and some used none at all. When the axe fell, they simply relabeled their product anis with little or no reformulation. 45% * Pastis Granier contains much anise, extracted from badiane, and rectified according to very strict guidelines, keeping only the best, most alluring flavors. There is licorice in the infusion, as well, obtained by a cold process designed to capture the most volatitle, delicate aromas. Other ingredients include vanilla, cocoa, caraway, Tonka bean, coriander, and fennel. The care in selecting the ingredients and assembling them into Granier Mon Pastis gives the pastis its inimitable taste, loved for decades by connoisseurs in Provence. Ivory-hue with honeyish aroma that seems more licorice than anise and a subtle, straightforward, entirely pleasant flavor.
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