Sunday, July 18, 2010

PASTIS - The French National, Versatile and Much Loved Drink






Imagine sitting in any of thousands of Provence's outdoor cafes in southern France.  The sun is shining, and you are tired.  What to order?  A Provencale will order pastis - that unmistakable of all alcoholic beverages of the Mediterranean.




Pastis consists of alcohol, star anise, both black and white peppercorns, cardamom, sage, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, licorice and a little sugar.  




When you order pastis the waiter will serve you a generous portion along with a beaded carafe of water.




Pastis becomes milky white and cloudy as you mix it with water (1.5 ratio).  There is a sharp, sweet smell of aniseed and it is called,  the milk of Provence, that felicituous corner of France where vegetables taste great, herbs are potent, garlic abundant, and olive oil indispensable in cooking.




Pastis, a Marseillais will tell you, was invented by a curious and experiment-happy monk in a monastery kitchenconcocting recipes to find the "elixir of life".  Somehow monks seem to have an affinity to alcoholic inventions, from Dom Perignon to Benedictine and Carthusian monks. 




Pastis is a charming drink - the first glass invites the second and very often the second the third.  But be careful, very careful, it is insidious before you know you may need help to walk unless you are a Provencale.




I recently came across this set of 8 charming pastis glasses made in France by Côté Bastide.




(Each one has Côté Bastide etched on the bottom)


 
 
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* Article by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage.   All images courtesy of Google Images.
       

29 comments:

Lucas' Mom said...

Hi Therese,
Pastis sounds like a lovely hot evening refresher. May I share another I have just found? It is Elderflower Presse. I found it at Safeway in Clayton and on Bancroft in W.Creek in their (UK) International section. It is absolutely heavenly. Your blog and new Tesoro are delightful and Your efforts are enjoyed and appreciated! Best Wished, Theresa Viray

The Zhush said...

Pastis! I must try this drink this summer! Too funny about the Monks..funny, but true!

Kathysue said...

Woo Hoo!! Some lucky person has some wonderful new French glasses. Great job, Miss Terri, love all the info to go along with your items for sale. Fun, fun,hugs Kathysue

Privet and Holly said...

I have heard
of Pastis, but
didn't know what
it was....Now I
want to try it!
See what education
I'm receiving at
your hands???
xx Suzanne

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