[Photograph: Marcia Simmons]

Pastis is an anise-flavored aperitif that’s one of life’s little luxuries, and you can make a richly flavored homemade version by steeping some spices and bark in a jar for just a few days.

Notes: Most grocery stores carry the spices needed for this recipe. Natural foods stores like Whole Foods carry licorice root in the bulk spice section.

Read more: DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Pastis

  • Yield:Makes about 2 cups
  • Active time:
    10 minutes
  • Total time:9 days
  • Rated:



  • 10 star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon licorice root
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. 1.

    With a mortar and pestle, roughly break up anise, licorice root, fennel, coriander, and anise. Add them to a sealable glass jar along with vodka. Seal and shake, then let steep for 5 days at room temperature away from direct sunlight, shaking occasionally.

  2. 2.

    Boil sugar and water together until integrated into a light syrup, about 7 minutes. While the syrup is cooling, strain the spices out of the vodka mixture through a cheesecloth lining a fine-mesh strainer. Strain twice if necessary to remove all sediment.

  3. 3.

    Once syrup is cool add it to the strained vodka infusion and shake. Let rest for 4 days or more before use. Store at room temperature for up to 4 months.