Pernod or Pernod Anise is a French anise-flavored liqueur with licorice flavor. Aside from casual drinking, Pernod is often used in French cuisine, especially in different types of sauces and seafood dishes.
Pernod is also enhanced with lots of culinary herbs and has an acidic flavor that really adds a little something-something to your dishes and plus, it diminishes the strong smell of seafood.
If you’re about to make a fancy seafood dish but you can’t find this French liqueur don’t worry, there are a few substitutes that would do the trick.
Substitutes for Pernod are
- White Wine
- Citrus Fruits
- Star Anise
- Lemon Juice
To find out more about these substitutes keep on reading this article.
White wine, especially dry wine like Sauvignon Blanc (or sweet wine like Riesling) is a culinary piece de resistance. White wine is the main cooking ingredient in many savory dishes like pasta dishes, risotto, chicken dishes, seafood dishes, and even some creamy desserts like baked peaches and apples.
Although obviously, white wine doesn’t have that anise flavor that Pernod does, it is an ideal substitute for it. If you’re not using it for cooking, you can always serve yourself a cold glass of this popular drink.
Absinthe is also a liqueur that’s anise-flavored and it’s maybe the closest substitute for Pernod. You may have heard of Absinthe; that bright green-colored potion in a bottle that makes people hallucinate and it’s banned in many countries?
The reason why this beverage has a notorious reputation is its strong alcohol content. Believe it or not, Absinthe can contain 45 to 85 % alcohol, making it one of the strongest alcoholic beverages.
Even though it has a bad reputation, the green fairy is involved in many traditional dishes like oysters, red meat, different types of cheeses, and omelets. You can use a teaspoon of absinthe in your European dishes instead of Pernod.
This Russian beverage makes a great alternative for Pernod and it’s a great addition to any dish. Vodka is used in pasta dishes(the famous Penne alla vodka pasta), seafood sauces, and cheese dips. Just a teaspoon of vodka helps get rid of all the funky smells and odors from either meat or seafood.
Just a side note for when you’re using vodka in your dishes. Vodka can easily overpower the taste of all the other ingredients in your dish so try to use it a small amount at a time. You can taste the food and decide if it needs a little bit more.
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Different types of citrus fruits make a good non-alcoholic alternative for the licorice-flavored liqueur that is Pernod. As I said in the beginning, Pernod has acidic notes and a sweet taste. So, why not use fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, or grapefruits to mimic the taste?
Star anise is a seed pod from the star-shaped Chinese tree Illicium Verum. Star anise is considered to be a warm spice with a licorice flavor, used mostly around the winter holidays.
This spice is an excellent ingredient when making mulled wine, and is a part of the famous Chinese five-spice powder. Star anise is also a big part of Vietnamese cuisine in savory dishes like Pho.
Star anise originated in China and it’s been used for thousands of years in medicine and the kitchen. Since star anise has a sweet licorice flavor, it’s used to flavor and sweeten syrups, jams, puddings, and warm beverages.
Anisette is a strong, sweet liqueur made from the anise seed. If you happen to have an anisette at home, don’t hesitate to use it in your cooking(it’s especially amazing in French dishes).
In fact, this is one of the best substitutes for Pernod. There are a lot of different versions of this liqueur around the world. The Italian version is called Sambuca or black sambuca.
Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored liquor with high alcohol content. Ouzo is made from dried grape remains and is then flavored with anise seeds, mint, and cardamom.
Although Ouzo is a high-alcohol beverage, it’s actually not as strong as Pernod or Absinthe. Ouzo is used in cooking but it’s added at the end of the cooking process to add just a little bit of anise flavoring.
Lemon and lime juice are a great way to add some sourness to your seafood dishes and sauces. Lemon juice is famously used on top of oysters and fish to diminish the strong, weird odor. If you don’t have lemon juice, you can substitute it with just a tiny bit of alcoholic vinegar.
Pastis is also a type of French liquor that has the flavor of anise seeds, making it the perfect substitute for Pernod. Pastis also has a high alcohol content (40-45%) but the alcohol reduces with the cooking time on high heat. This anise-flavored liqueur is great in seafood paellas, pasta, chicken recipes, shrimp and prawn recipes, etc.
Just like Absinthe, because of its high alcohol content, Pastis is rare to find even in the countries that are legal. Use just a few drops of Pastis because it’s pretty strong alcohol. You only want to get that anise flavor.
Sambuca is a clear, Italian liquor that has a sweet taste and a distinct anise flavor. Sambuca is a great Pernod substitute in cooking especially in meat and seafood dishes.
Sambuca is often mistaken for its cousin, the Ouzo when in fact, even though they are both anise liqueurs originating from Mediterranean countries they are not the same beverage.
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Even though whiskey’s taste is nothing like the taste of Pernod, it’s still can be a good substitute for cooking your favorite meat dishes if you have nothing else at home. Whiskey is famously used in cooking to enhance the smokiness in meats and some seafood dishes.
Be careful when using whiskey in your dishes and try to add it slowly to the dish instead of just pouring it in the hot pan. Alcohol can quickly evaporate and even catch on fire if it’s added all at once.