When most people think of a French alcoholic beverage it is usually wine that is conjured up in their minds. However, a popular drink of choice in France, particularly in the southern regions of the country, is a tipple called pastis. Pastis has an aniseed flavour and is in a similar vein to sambucca in Italy, ouzo in Greece, raki in Turkey and arak Lebanon and Israel
Pastis became popular after absinthe was banned in France from 1914 although it took 17 years to establish itself due to people’s reluctance of drinking anis-based drinks. Pastis is a strong drink that is 40% to 45% alcohol by volume. It is normally diluted with water which gives it a sweeter taste. It is strongly associated with the game pétanque which originated in Provence whose players drink it to legally enhance their performance.
130 million litres of pastis are sold every year in France. It is also used as an ingredient of in several cocktails including Mauresque, Perroquet, Tomate, Rourou and Cornichon.