Hedgehog in the Fog

This post is dedicated to Pernod pastis, French anise aperitif. Many people dislike it because anise and licorice flavours remaind of cheap cough medicine. In the times of Soviet Union when I was a child, my mum gave me such medicine which tasted and smelt of anise seeds and licorice root – not the candies a baby would enjoy.

Now I’ve got rid of that dislike, mostly for anise and not licorice. I can drink Pernod neat but in cocktails I like it much more.

The cocktail I write about is an adaptation of modern recipe called Green Beast which has got Chairman Trophy award in Ultimate Cocktail Challenge 2011. The original recipe calls for Pernod Absinthe, a hard-to-find alcohol in Russia. All my attempts to buy it have failed so I’ve turned to Pernod pastis.

With Pernod pastis, mint and some changes in proportions, my «Green Beast» version looks like another cocktail, and that’s why I’ve decided to change the title. Now it’s called Hedgehog in the Fog – like a cartoon character of the same name which was very popular in 80s in Soviet Union.

Now a few words about tweaks I’ve made.

First, I’ve changed proportions. Pastis is rather sweeter than absinthe so I’ve took few drops of rock candy syrup instead of one ounce of simple syrup. Additionally, lack of sweetness helps to mask unwanted licorice flavour.

Second, pastis isn’t too powerful so I’ve changed proportions once more and took more pastis.

Third, I’ve substituted mint for cucumber. Well-known tart and fresh pair of lime and mint will complement anise taste and balance its intensity.

Fourth, soda water will be another tool to freshen the cocktail.

Hedgehog in the Fog

  • 40 ml Pernod pastis,
  • 30 ml fresh lime juice,
  • 2 dash (3 ml) thick simple syrup,
  • 4 fresh mint leave,
  • soda water (~40 ml).

Combine all but soda water in shaker, add a plenty of ice and shake well. Don’t muddle mint leaves before shaking, it’s important! Double strain in a glass full of crushed (or cracked) ice. Garnish with a mint leaf and a strawberry if it’s in season.

 Hedgehog in the Fog

It’s clear that 40 ml pastis cannot be masked by one ounce of lime juice. Anise flavour dominates, and lime has performed great service for making it fine and fresh. Combined with Mojito-like pair of mint and lime, anise starts to create unique and unusual taste composition where flavours replace each other from beginning to aftertaste.

The cocktail wins over with freshness and strong herbal aroma. Soda water adds some crispness to the taste, and served with crushed ice, Hedgehog in Fog brings great pleasure for anise-loving imbiber in hot summer afternoon.

Later I’ve search for similar recipes and found a couple at Simon Difford’s website.

Drowned Out

Pastis and ginger combination definitely not a thing I can enjoy. Lime is overpowered, devastated by licorice, anise and ginger. That’s not good, the taste is a pretty rough and unpleasant. Waste of time.

Milky Mojito

If were not for sugar, this could be nice cocktail. Excessive sweetness breaks balance so taste lacks depth and brings forward medical hints of pastis. Only for pastis fans…