Bottle Rocket: Sommelier Heather Green Escapes to Provence
Last week’s brutal, scorching heat sent me in search of a cold beverage- one that’s like a cool breeze from the inside. I wanted to be transported to a shady garden, to doze away the hottest part of the afternoon. While I can’t just hop a flight to Provence (a girl’s gotta work), I can do the next best thing. I can refresh myself with the famous drink of the region: Ricard.
Ricard is a pastis– a category of liquor flavored chiefly with aniseed and licorice. In this case, star anise from China, licorice from the Mediterranean and local aromatic herbs from Provence. (Ricard tasters who attend harvests in China and Syria carefully select all of the ingredients.) Paul Ricard labored for year, combining and refining hundreds of flavor elements, and finally perfected his precise recipe in 1932. The resulting beverage highlights the pure aroma and flavor of anise, rounded out with a hint of licorice and herbs. The result is considered “the real pastis of Marseille.”
How to drink it? Ricard is made into a “long drink” (one with a relatively large volume) by adding water. Measure 2 ounces of Ricard into a tall Collins glass. Fill with chilled water to taste- usually 6 to 10 ounces. The drink will become cloudy, as is usual with pastis. A few large ice cubes may be added. For best results, use well chilled filtered or mineral water (not carbonated), poured from a pitcher or carafe. Sip and enjoy the summertime drink of Provence!
Heather Green is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers as a Sommelier. She is a member of the wine and spirits team at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas and writes about wine and spirits for EscapeHatchDallas.com.