Herbsaint

$$ — 50% ABV — Anise

After the repeal of prohibition, absinthe was still banned in the States. Looking to get back to its true business, the Sazerac Company needed a legal replacement for the key ingredient in their famous Sazerac cocktail. A wormwood-free pastis quickly came to the market that was (despite a lot of back-and-forth with the federal government) a rather thinly veiled tribute to traditional recipes.

J.M. Legendre modeled his product after the classic unsweetened French style. Herbsaint was a popular French term for grand wormwood, ironic as it was the wormwood that was at the heart of the ban. Many sweetened pastis were catching on in France, perhaps none more famous than Ricard, but a classic formula was what was needed for America's oldest cocktail.

Many drinks call for absinthe, none more so than the simple absinthe cocktail, which is a kind of absinthe old fashioned. The Herbsaint Frappe remains somewhat popular and is a great way to become better acquainted with its flavor. There's no fire or sugar water drip or anything like that, merely frothing the drink with sugar and cold ice.

For many, Herbsaint may be a bit too bracing, and fans will be just fine sticking to using it to spike their old fashioned, just as they did in New Orleans eighty years ago. And that's just fine.

J.M. Legendre is located in New Orleans, Louisiana in southern USA. Established in 1934 by J. Marion Legendre and Reginald Parker, it is now owned by the Sazerac Company.