Pernod is intense. And lot’s of people find the pungent combination of star anise and aromatic herbs quite unpleasant. To be honest, anise used to be on my top five hated foods list as of four months ago. I didn’t really discriminate between licorice and anise, either. Nearly everything with those flavors, especially liquor, tasted completely foul to me. I did like fennel, tarragon, and fennel seeds, but any type of candy or spirit was way out of bounds.
My top five hated list is the culmination of the various food and drink that I find hard to pass between my lips. For the most part, I really like everything, but there are those few things that just make my palaette very angry. Items on the list include salmon (I like all other kinds of fish, cooked, raw, cured, etc., but salmon is just gross, though I almost like it in sushi), oatmeal (I liked steel cut oats cooked with buttermilk… once), nori (I like other kinds of seaweed (e.g. kombu, but that’s mostly used for flavoring and MSGey goodness). Nori, though, just makes me want to gag; I really love sushi, so I must conquer this as well).
You may remember me hinting at this before, but I undertake epic food quests to like the things that are on my most hated list. I’m not sure why I do this. My current conquest, though, which is nearly complete, is anise
flavor. I’ve gone from dreading anything containing pastis, to seeking out recipes just to experience new ways of adding its subtle, or not so subtle, flavors to cocktails. How did I do this? The trick is rather simple: keep drinking the stuff until you like it. I can’t count the number of times I sit down and force myself to sip a shot of Pernod, grimacing and doing my damndest to enjoy it. After a few weeks, though, I almost looked forward to my semi-nightly libation, and before I knew it, I was looking up pastis recipes with glee.
There is a great article by Jeffrey Steingarten that covers epic quests and my basic desires for undertaking them. Thanks to Katarina (commenter over on Slakethirst) for point this article out.
I looked through tons of recipes in order to pick one out for Mixology Monday, but I kept coming back to the Balloon Cocktail (what I like to call the Calcutta).
- 1 1/2oz rye whiskey
- 1 1/2oz pernod
- 1 1/2oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 1/2t egg white (optional)
Shake with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From: The Gentleman’s Companion Volume II: The Exotic Drinking Book, Charles H. Baker, Jr.
I did a post on The Calcutta before, but I’d like to comment even more on the flavor. This cocktail is so well-balanced, with the pastis playing a major role yet not overpowering the cocktail. With every sip, you are drawn to examine the combination thoughtfully, and even by the end, you are left wondering how it was created.
This Mixology Monday is being hosted by our knowledgeable cocktailian from Seattle over at Cocktail Chronicles. Give his blog a visit for the round-up and for links to other participating posts.