A is for Anise


Anise is a smell (and a taste) that had dire repercussions in my twenties. I love its taste and smell, and there are two liqueurs with that flavor: anisette and absinthe. Absinthe, also called wormwood or the green fairy, was banned in the US until the 21st century because of its supposedly addictive nature.

But that didn’t keep me from the anisette! On a trip to Tijuana in the late 1970s with my husband and a couple of good friends, we decided to avail ourselves of the cheap prices for liquor and bought a bottle of anisette and one of Kalua. When we got home that night, while everyone else indulged in Black Russians, I poured myself a glass of anisette and added a ton of ice cubes. Several times. Later that evening my husband poured me into the car and the next thing I remember is being dragged off the floor of the car, where I had slumped.  You know where this is going, right? I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom, either clinging to the toilet or sleeping on the floor, and swore off anisette forever.

However, when my children were babies and teething, I was advised to let them gum on zwieback, a dry toast that I remember my mother giving me as a kid.  And it’s flavored with anise. I always bought two packages.


5 thoughts on “A is for Anise

  1. Hello, fellow A to Zer! I love the smell of Anise. Back when I was into making my own lotions and potpurri, I loved using Anise. 🙂

    What a fascinating topic for the challenge! Looking forward to more.

  2. Oh the memories. Drinking Absinthe was great, mostly I think because of the lure of the forbidden. Interestingly enough, there are distillers of Absinthe who adhere strictly to the ancient formulas and when those were tested they were found to have very low levels of the ‘forbidden’ chemical Thujone. The major damage is still done by alcohol, apparently. So the banning was really all a lot of hoo-hah, unless you’re drinking Hills, which is of such poor quality it’s like drinking Windex. Politician’s haven’t changed much, have they? Take care.

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