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Grab some pastis and try a Mauresque cocktail

The Mauresque cocktail is perfect for a hot summer day

Stephan Coudassot / Unsplash

One of the great delights of being a cocktail enthusiast is trying new flavors and drinks from around the world that you might be not exposed to otherwise. One drink that’s popular in its home country of France but rarely seen outside it is pastis — an anise-flavored spirit that’s commonly enjoyed as an aperetif (and occasionally used in cooking as well). Flavor-wise, pastis is similar to its better-known cousin, absinthe, but it doesn’t have such pronounced bitterness and uses milder star anise for flavoring rather than the brash green anise.

That makes pastis a more sippable, mellow alternative to absinthe. On hot days, it’s commonly mixed with water and ice for a pre-dinner drink. This preparation is also responsible for the drink’s most distinctive feature: when water is added, it turns from clear yellow to soft, milky white.

If you do decide to do some experimenting and pick up a bottle of pastis for the summer, then as well as enjoying it in the classic style, you can also use it in cocktails. In a recent profile in Punch, the bartenders from Paris’s CopperBay bar share one of their favorite preparations for pastis, which is a cocktail called the Mauresque.

How to make a Mauresque

To make a Mauresque, you mix two parts pastis with one part orgeat, the sweet almond syrup often used in Tiki drinks. Stir well, then pour into a glass and top up with around five parts of ice and water.

This is a classic cocktail in the south of France, where is is often made with a higher percentage of orgeat for a sweeter drink. The experts at the CopperBay recommend toning down the sweetness to let the anise flavor shine, but if you have a sweeter tooth, then you can always bump up the syrup to suit your tastes.

Enjoy this as a refreshing tipple before a good meal.

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Georgina Torbet
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