Please discuss the nuances between Pernod/Arak/Ouzo
- meatn3 Jan 21, 2013 09:42 PM
I am seldom on this board, so apologies if my search was unsuccessful.
I was at a Chow-gathering recently and we were discussing the COTM results for Jerusalem. One recipe, chicken with clementines and fennel, calls for arak but lists the other two as acceptable substitutions. I inquired if anyone could address how the three differed and the pluses/minuses between them. No one was able to. ( I must say I opted for the ouzo largely because it was cheapest. I was pleased with the result but would like to educate myself further!)
I appeal to this board for edification please!
First, they are similar concepts of anise flavored drinks from different parts of Europe and the Middle East. Arak is from Lebanon, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries and often has the highest proof of the three; it is generally unsweetened. Ouzo is very similar but made in Greece; often at a lower proof than Arak (80-100 proof). Pernod is the oddball here. This French liqueur is basically a sweetened absinthe substitute (no wormwood) and is a proprietary product -- there are other pastis but only one Pernod. It's at 80 proof, has sugar, and is much more complex than anise and has a few dozen other botanical notes in there. There is also Pernod Absinthe which returned to the market in 2008 after being gone since first decade or two of the 20th century due to the absinthe ban; however, it is usually referred to as Pernod Absinthe, not Pernod. It has a higher proof and no sugar content, but a similarly complex flavor profile as the pastis form.
All three are generally diluted before drinking often with ice water. All three will louche when they hit a lower proof and the alcohol soluble flavorants crash out of solution and donate a white cloudiness to the drink.