Pastis is a tradition in the south of France. During my stay in Giens there was always a bottle lying around the villa. I sipped one by the pool with a good book (Le Silence De La Mer was perfect for my French level) or while planning a late lunch or dinner. During a moment of vacation stress (yeah, it happens sometimes) the French Coq poured me a pastis and I was instantly tranquillized.


I love the ritual of pastis. It’s an afternoon reality check, a sanctuary, an anise-flavoured liquid siesta where you remind yourself what really matters in life; good food and good love.


Curious about other ways to drink pastis I googled “pastis cocktails” and found a few interesting combinations, including; the Perroquet, pastis flavoured with creme de menthe, and the Mauresque, pastis with Syrup d’Orgeot (almond syrup.)  


I finally had a chance to actually sample one of these enticing-sounding elixirs today when the FC and I dropped by Le Massillia a favourtie hangout for French ex-pats living in Montreal.  It’s a humble little bar with a bright blue awning and a chill Mediterrean vibe. It was also packed with cute French boys watching football  (aka “soccer.”) I took a note to bring my single friend Georgia next time. The speciality of the house is Ricard (a common brand of pastis) and bottles of it lined the bar. Plastic Ricard ashtrays of green and blue lay on each table. (They were so cute I wanted to take one home in my purse even though I don’t smoke.)


I soon noticed a chalkboard menu exclusively  devoted to pastis cocktails and featuring all the ones I’d read about and even few I’d never heard of.  I opted for the Mauresque, which the bartender reccomended. Wow! It was smooth as a sunny afternoon in the south of France.  The almond sweetness of the syrup mellowed the strong licorice flavour and even the FC (who was practically weened on this apertif) said he preferred it too. 


As the FC glued his eyes to the televised football indoors, I happily sipped my pastis — a little oasis of Europe on a Saturday afternoon.


Two Pastis Cocktails


Classic Pastis with Water


one and half  ounces pastis

pitcher of cold water on the side


Pour pastis into a small glass with ice. Serve with a pitcher or carafe of icey cold water on the side. (Tip:  I only add only a little water at first,  1 tablespoon or 2 savouring the strong flavour for a little while, then gradually adding more as I finish the drink.  By the end, I’m just enjoying a cold glass of water._


The Mauresque


one and half ounces pastis

one tablespoon of almond syrup (more or less to taste)
pitcher of cold water



The FC doesn't agree with my plan to steal the Ricard ashtray. But see-- Isn't it cute?



Too many pastis cocktails to choose from!

A good book and a pastis. Recipe for bliss.

A good book and a pastis. Recipe for bliss.

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