A very dry, highly alcoholic herbal spirit, containing, among other flavourings, anise and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), evolved in the 18th century by a Dr Pierre Ordinaire, a Frenchman then living in in Switzerland, whose formula passed to Henry Louis Pernod, of Pontarlier, in 1797. Because of the narcotics in the original recipe, absinthe was banned in France in 1915, and it is still forbidden to sell it there, in the U.S., and in Switzerland; but Pernod still make a liqueur flavoured with aniseed bearing the house name. In the south of France a similar sort of drink is called pastis, the most famous manufacturers being the houses of Ricard and Berger.
All these drinks are served accompanied by a glass of water which is added to the spirit, in the proportions of five to one, turning it cloudy. For a sweeter drink, a lump of sugar is placed on a perforated spoon and the water dripped through. A brand of pastis called Casanis is also made in Corsica. A ‘Perroquef is creme de menthe and pastis, topped up with water, a’ Tomate’ is grenadine plus pastis and water.