7 AMAZING Substitutes for Pastis! You Should Know

What do you do when you are looking for pastis but can’t find any? Make a different recipe?

No! You can read this wonderful blog post and use one of these 7 amazing substitutes!

Absinthe, Anisette, Ouzo, Sambuca, Pernod Ricard, and White Wine are all great substitutes for pastis and can add that zing you are looking for to your next dish!

What is Pastis?

Pastis is an alcoholic beverage that was formulated in France and is now mainly consumed in the Mediterranean. The main ingredients of pastis are aniseed, licorice root, and star anise.

Pastis was first developed in 1932 by distilling a mix of these ingredients with alcohol and water to create a herbal liquor that would substitute absinthe.

The word “pastis” comes from the French verb “to mix,” which means that the liquor is mixed with water. However, don’t think it is a weak drink because of its process.

The alcohol content is quite high, and it packs quite a punch!

Pastis has an alcohol content of between 45 and 60 percent, depending on its brand.

In France, pastis is traditionally drunk in a large glass filled to the brim with ice cubes. The drink can be served either neat or diluted over ice in a tall glass with sugar syrup and water.

What Recipes Are Good With Pastis?

Pastis is an excellent substitute for dishes such as pasta dishes, meat dishes, and salad dressing with balsamic vinegar. Pastis is also great when mixed with ginger ale and orange juice.

I use pastis in a gravy recipe. I first put garlic, onion, and red wine in the pan and cook it for 10 minutes. Then I add beef stock and whisk it as it heats up; I add the flour and cook it with the other ingredients for another 10 minutes.

Lastly, I boil some potatoes in water until they are soft enough to mash then add them to the mixture.

Once everything is mixed together, I let it simmer for 5 more minutes. If you want to make a roux instead of using flour to thicken the gravy, just reduce one tablespoon of oil or butter over medium heat in another pan then whisk in two tablespoons of flour until your desired thickness has been reached.

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It’s delicious, and this gravy stands up to even the more robust meat roasts such as venison or game.

But what if you can’t find pastis? Don’t worry at all. I have gathered 7 wonderful substitutes for you to try instead!


Absinthe is an alcoholic beverage formulated in France and is now mainly consumed in the Mediterranean. The main ingredients of absinthe are aniseed, licorice root, and star anise.

The flavor of absinthe can clear one’s head, and it is still frequently used to make cocktails because of its distinct taste.

Absinthe can be used in various recipes, both alcohol, and herbs. One great recipe is the Absinthe and Sweet Potato Gratin, which includes thyme, sage, garlic cloves, bay leaves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

You first cook the sweet potatoes until they are softened. Add butter to the pan and mix in a little flour to thicken it up. Pour over a glass of absinthe and let it simmer for 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and cover with crumbs or breadcrumbs before baking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

Place in oven to brown for 5 minutes before serving with soup or salad on the side!

Another delicious absinthe recipe is the Absinthe Frappé. This drink includes a part of melted butter, orange zest, sugar, and water- all mixed with ice in a blender before adding an ounce or two of absinthe.


Anisette is an aromatic liqueur first created by a French apothecary in the 18th century. The main ingredients of anisette are star anise, real absinthe from the Artemisia plant, and cinchona bark extract (which gives it a color similar to that of brandy).

Anisette has less sugar than other liqueurs because it is made from a distillation process. Anisette is traditionally served neat or on the rocks with ice cubes in a cocktail glass.

Some of my favorite recipes to make with anisette are the Anise and Honey Ice Cream Cake (Ingredients include milk, cream, eggs, vanilla extract, salt, sugar), Raspberry Anisette Cake (Ingredients include flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar), and Crêpes with Aniseed Cream Recipe.


Ouzo is an alcoholic beverage from Greece and has been produced since 1878.

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The main ingredients of ouzo are water and arak which give it a licorice taste.

Ouzo can be served either cold or hot depending on the recipe one is following, and it can be mixed with water if desired to cut down on its potency (such as in a cocktail).

One of my favorite recipes is the Ouzo and Pear Cake. Ingredients include-

1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 eggs, chopped pears, flour, baking powder, ouzo, and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the beaten eggs, flour, and baking powder. Mix it well before adding in the ouzo and pears. Add a few drops of vanilla extract if desired as well!

You can also make an Ouzo Martini by mixing a chilled martini glass, ice cubes, olive brine (or lemon juice), and ouzo.


Sambuca is an Italian liqueur that contains both alcohol (usually grape ethanol) and elderberries, giving it a sweet, berry flavor with hints of licorice, cinnamon, cardamom, or cinchona bark extract.

The traditional way to serve sambuca is by pouring it into a glass and then lighting the alcohol on fire so it burns off. This can be done with an individual serving or in bulk for larger groups.

Sambuca is also served as shots when mixed alongside other ingredients, such as black coffee syrup (such as licorice), cream sherry, and sugar to make a Sambuca Sour.

Some of my favorite recipes to make with Sambuca are the Ouzo and Pear Cake, Sambuca Sour, and a Chocolate-Sambucca Frosting.

These boozy desserts are a delicious way to end off any meal.


Pernod is a French pastis founded in 1805 and has been a popular drink in France since the 1890s.

Although Pernod was created as an absinthe substitute, it helped to create its separate category of drinks with different recipes that have little to do with licorice or other herbs.

One favorite recipe is the Manhattan Cocktail which includes bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, and one ounce of Pernod.

Some of my favorite recipes to make with  Pernod are the Manhattan Cocktail, the French Martini, and a Fennel-Pernod Soup.


Ricard is a French pastis created in 1798 to be consumed as both an apéritif and digestif.

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Ricard is often served alongside ice cubes in a cocktail glass and can be mixed with other ingredients such as an orange or lemon peel, sugar syrup, water (or club soda), and egg white.

Some of my favorite recipes to make with Ricard are the Ricard Cocktail which includes vodka, sweet vermouth, and dry vermouth; the Ricard Special which includes cherry juice or blackberry syrup with ice cubes, and high-quality gin or vodka.

A few more recipes to try are:

  • Anise-topped Cookies
  • Ricard Vietnamese Pancakes with Mango and Creamy Tofu Sauce
  • Ricard Roast Potatoes, Artichokes, Fennel, and Olives in a Lemon Dressing
  • Ricard Hazelnut Cake

White Wine

White wine is a drink that can be substituted for pastis with some minor adjustments to the recipe. The citrus notes in the wine can really enhance many dishes if used right.

White wine has a long and interesting history in the field of cooking. It’s got so many uses! This is partly why it’s a popular ingredient in so many cuisines around the world.

Some of my favorite recipes that use white wine are Pasta with White Wine, Garlic, and Olive Oil Sauce. White wine can also be used in a recipe for French Onion Soup by using red cooking wine instead.

You could even make a lovely Fennel-Pernod Soup which would need to replace pastis with white wine.

One of my favorite recipes to make with White Wine is Chicken and Rice Casserole.

You could also use white wine in a recipe for pasta sauce to give it a zing! White wine makes fried mushrooms and garlic butter taste out of this world. Use white wine in your next cheese sauce, roast, or in your next prawn pasta sauce.


What makes these substitutes so amazing is that you can enjoy them warm or cold and that they are all so easy to find. They have different tastes and create a distinctive zest for your dish when paired together. It’s hard to go wrong with the substitutes because they are all incredible!

Did you try any of the recipes? Let us know in the comments below!