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Pernod isn’t quite like anything else. It’s a very old recipe that’s changed some over the years. A quote from the manufacturer, Pernod-Ricard:
The oldest anise liqueur in France, Pernod is made from distillates of star anise, fennel and 14 other botanicals such as coriander and mint. It has a low liquorice content, which sets it apart from pastis. The original version included wormwood and was produced as absinthe at the Pernod Fils factory from 1805. The Pernod liqueur of today was created in 1938, though a reformulated absinthe based on the original recipe was released in 2005.
It tastes like black licorice with notes of fennel and other herbs. Generally speaking, if you don’t like black licorice, you probably won’t want to drink it straight.
But you may still enjoy it in cocktails, especially when it’s nicely balanced by other ingredients.
The Nicky Finn cocktail is one you could definitely refer to as sophisticated. But it's an easy, smooth drink that doesn't demand a specially trained palate. Brandy gets pleasantly overwhelmed by Cointreau and lemon juice, and that little dash of Pernod makes sure all the other ingredients play nice together.
The Fastlap is an old style cocktail, featuring plenty of gin, some Pernod, some orange juice and a touch of grenadine. The orange juice and grenadine make it more drinkable, but it's still at heart a rather herbal cocktail.