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Homepage > History of Pernod

Pernod, from absinthe to aniseed

Pernod is an aniseed-based distilled spirit that has been enjoyed in France for nearly 200 years as an aperitif and a zesty cooking ingredient.

During the Babylonian Empire era and Middle Ages, aniseed drinks were known as elixirs with therapeutic qualities to cure stomach and digestive problems. A combination of aniseed and wormwood plant has long been recognized for its healing powers and mood-altering effects.

In the late 1700s, a French physician named Pierra Ordinaire was working on a medicine he called 'Absinthe Elixier" in Switzerland. After he died in 1797, Major Dubied purchased his rustic recipe and set up the first industrial absinthe distillery in Switzerland according to Pernod. In 1805, Major Dubied's son-in-law, Henri-Louis Pernod founded the Pernod-Fils Company and distillery in Pontarlier, France. There, using the same formula of fragrant green anise, fennuel, hyssop, mint, coriander and wormwood, Henri-Louis Pernod turned absinthe Pernod. Absinthe took on a new identity as Pernod liqueur gaining allure in its inspiring yet controversial days in the early 19th century Parisian bohemian society.

In 1872, Pernod Pere et Fils Company was created in Avignon. By this time, Pernod was popular during happy hours known as "Green Hour" at chic Parisian cafes among artists and writers such as Edouard Manet, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Verlaine, and Charles Baudelaire. Even Picasso painted the drink in the famous "Glass and Bottle."

But the huge popularity of the Green Hour was about to be halted by prohibitionist movement largely led by the local winemakers eager to regain lost sales. A massive press campaign blamed on 'Absinthism' as a cause of socially unacceptable behavior, insanity, tuberculosis and murder. Their effort was successful enough, in 1910, Absinthe production was banned in Switzerland. It became illegal in the United States two years later, followed by France two years later. By 1920, anise-based drinks were legalized again allowing Pernod to produce refined blends of herbs.

How it's made

Fully monitored by modern techology, star anise and fennel are crushed and blended to produce fragrant anehol. And a select combination of mint and coriander are distilled to concentrate their flavors.

The anethol is then combined with the distilled herbs and purified water. Then sugar and naturally produced neutral alcohol are added to this base. Before bottling the liquid is stabilized and filtered to eliminate any particles, giving Pernod its brilliance and clarity.

STAR ANISE The distinctive star-shaped spice is characterized by a hot yetsugary taste and pervasive aniseed aroma. Enjoyed by the Chinese for centuries, star anise is burned in pagodas for its enticing fragrance and erved at the end of meals for its revitalizing taste.

FENNEL grows wild in the south of France with beautiful yellow flowers and a yellowy-green fruit. A widely-used herb and vegetable, it has a sweet and mellow fragrance and distinctive sugary taste, similar in flavor to a combination of star anise and celery. Fennel is used as an aphrodisiac in the Arab world, where the name and flower are synonymous with strength.

CORIANDER with its distinctive jagged green leaves, tiny white flowers, and yellow, perfumed fruit, has been used as a delicate spice for centuries. The subtly fragrant flavor is widely found in Chinese and Thai dishes, and the spice is believed to hold mysterious powers.

MINT, among the oldest and best known of all the aromatic herbs, is enjoyed for its lingering, cool, fresh taste and aroma. Mint is appreciated for its digestive properties and is reputed to be a symbol of wisdom.

Pernod became available worldwide in 1959. Today the drink is distributed in nearly 170 countries worldwide.

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