On July 2nd, we observe National Anisette Day. Aniseed from the anis herb gives anisette its licorice or fennel flavor. While usually a dry dry liqueur, distillers sometimes add a sugar syrup for a sweeter result. Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France lead the world in drinking this licorice tasting drink.
- The herb of the aniseed, usually the main ingredient in anisette, is considered to have medicinal qualities. Sweeter than other anise-flavored liqueurs, anisette’s association with a variety cures date back to ancient Egypt.
- As a liqueur, anisette is distilled dryer in Europe than it is in the United States. Distillers add other spices such as coriander and fruit to distill anisette, too.
- This herb is native to Egypt and is mentioned in ancient Egyptian records. The Romans used it in medicine and also in a cake which was possibly the forerunner of the wedding cake.
- Anise comes as an extract used in lozenges and in teas.
- It produces seeds that are used in both herbal medicine and aromatherapy.
- This sweet smelling herb is also commonly used to flavor foods and liqueurs such as anisette and ouzo.
- Anise has been used for many years to disguise the unpleasant taste of medicine.
- Anisette is an anise-flavored liqueur that is consumed mainly in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France. It is colorless and, unlike some other anise-based liqueurs, contains no licorice. It is sweeter than most anise-flavored liqueurs.
- True anisette is produced by means of distilling aniseed.
- Aniseed is also called Anise, Anisum, Anisum vulgare, Anisi fructus, and sweet cumin.
- Aniseed is an annual flowering plant. It grows up to a height of about 18 inches to 2 feet. The plant has various types of leaves from feathery to heart-shaped, round, serrate and petiolated. They are broader at the base and become narrower and thinner at the tip. The creamy whiteflowers, approximately 3mm in diameter, are clustered together along a long stalk. The fruit of the plant is covered with short hairs, it is an inch long and dull brown in color.
- Legendre Anisette was mentioned in the inaugural 1934 Herbsaint recipe booklet, as an ingredient in The Herbsaint cocktail.
- Anisette is most often served with just a bit of water, but you can shake it up with gin and cream and an egg white for a Café de Paris cocktail, or stir it with bourbon and bitters for a New Orleans.
- Anise dates back to biblical times when it was mentioned in both the gospels of Luke and Mark. Anise was considered so valuable during that time that the seeds from which the essential oil is derived were used as currency to pay tithes to the church as well as tax bills.
- Anise was also used to flavor wedding cakes during this time.
- In “Turner’s Herbal,” published in 1551, anise was recognized as a breath freshener, and in 1683, William Langham’s “Garden Health” suggested it had diuretic properties, making it an effective remedy for water retention.
- While there are many volatile oils in anise, by far the most important one is anethole. Anethole acts as an antimicrobial, fighting off bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
- A 2017 study addressed the benefits of anise essential oil as a potential treatment for symptoms of depression. The study, appearing in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, found that mood swings, insomnia, and irritability were reduced in women suffering from postpartum depression after taking the oil.