No. 5: Anisette

Some of my most treasured memories around the holidays are centered around a specific aroma. It always amazes me that a smell can bring you back to an exact moment of your childhood, good or bad. For instance, the magic scent of apple pie baking reminds me of the painful ceremony when parents asked to help get the house ready for incoming relatives. I would proceed to hide so I didn’t have to set the table. Aunt Helen’s goulash was an awful smelling piece of work, but some of my best card games (Uno) were played within a cloud of what seemed to be slowly rotting cabbage. There are many memories of Christmas, and perhaps the biggest trigger for me is the scent of black licorice, which came from the anisette being consumed at the dinner table.

Coffee Beans

Ya, you know what this means.


Most every Mediterranean culture has some form of anise-flavored spirit. The French have their pastis, which gets mixed with water to open up appetites for snails, and the Greeks have ouzo for an excuse to break plates. There are too many variations to name, but it can be all traced back to the regions love and consumption of absinthe over time. You see the beverage being adapted in different ways after absinthe fell off, and carried through by each culture to the new world. I ended up with the Italian adaptation, which consists of 2-ounce pours, after dinner, with a large assortment of cookies.

*2 oz. Anisette Marie Brizard
3 roasted coffee beans (optional)

Pour the booze on top of the beans in a shot glass. Drink at will. Chew coffee beans and repeat.
Note: The three coffee beans represent the father, the ghost, and the holy spirit. Or an alternative version is the man, the wife and the mistress – this is based on preference of beliefs. 

[See all of The 12 Days of a Wagon Christmakwanakah]

About Jim Halligan

Jim is a modern day conquistador. When not teaching his three parrots to speak Italian, he spends time poking flags in things and calling them his own.