What Is Anise, And What Are The Anise-Flavoured Spirits You Can Find?

Craft spirits like craft gin have become quite popular in recent times because of their flavour, aroma and versatility. While not all craft spirits like Old Bakery Gin made in the UK, use anise as a botanical, there are many that do, due to its exquisitely unique flavour profile.

Why is Anise being used in Craft Spirits?

Anise is also known as Pimpinella anisum or sweet cumin, and is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae that gives it its distinct flavour. This same compound can be found in other botanicals such as fennel and star anise, which are also commonly used as ingredients in craft spirits to impart these flavours into the final product. These spices have been gaining popularity among distillers because they offer a high return on investment; consumers tend to recognize their familiar taste profiles and appreciate them.

Anise flavoured spirits are quite popular, especially Pernod and Ricard. Some examples of Anise-flavoured spirits include Firelit Spiced Rum, Old New Orleans Absinthe Supérieure, Ransom Old Tom Gin Liqueur with Star Anise & Fennel Seed Botanicals, as well as many others. Others you can find around the world are:

Ouzo from Greece – This is made by distilling tsipoura and flavoured with anise, fennel, coriander, clove, cinnamon, and star anise.
Sambuca from Italy is a sweet liqueur – Sambuca is one of the favoured anise flavoured beverages around the world, and is usually served with coffee beans. It is made using anise as well as elderflower.
Raki from Turkey – This is made with twice-distilled grapes and anise seed. While the base of the drink is grapes, sugar beets, molasses and figs are also added to its making.
Anisette Liqueur – Made using anise and grapes with added sugar, making it a very sweet tasting liqueur.
Pastis from France – A liqueur made using liquorice root and anise.
Absinthe, the dominant flavour of which is anise.
Aguardiente from Spain, Portugal & Columbia – This is made mainly using sugarcane.
Chinchon from Spain.
Mastiha from Greece.
Oghi from Armenia.
Mastika from Bulgaria – This beverage is similar to the Greek Ouzo.
Pastis is also being made in the United Kingdom, although keeping its roots around the Mediterranean. Pastis, Raki, Sambuca and Ouzo are some of the more popular anise flavoured spirits used around the world, and not only in their specific regions. These are ideally used in cocktails and mixes that enhance the flavour of the beverage and the anise and other spices and botanicals that have gone into their making.

Anise flavoured spirits are ideal for creating some great cocktails, especially for those who like some zest and spice in their drinks. The French Mule, the Marie Mojito and the Marie Julep are just some of the cocktails made using Anisette Liqueur, but there is so much more, with people creating new twists to old classics simply to be able to incorporate the highly aromatic anise flavoured craft gin and other spirits into it.

Anise seeds can also be used for medicinal purposes and are often found in cough syrups or remedies for indigestion. The medicinal use of anise includes relieving the flu, coughs and sore throats, as well as treating colic and indigestion. Other uses of anise for medical purposes are to ease symptoms of menopause, to induce labour and childbirth, as a diuretic, an expectorant, for menstrual problems or pains associated with menstruation. It is also known to be given to those suffering from depression and anxiety and stomach ulcers. Anise seed is also good for your breath. In fact, it has been used throughout history to freshen the mouth and even prevent tooth decay. It may stimulate saliva production which helps keep teeth clean and fight plaque formation.

In ancient Egypt and Babylonia it has been found that doctors had used Anise as a cure for anything and everything, thereby proving its potent medicinal values, and the aroma of anise is said to have given relief from headaches.