|Bottle volume ml||1000ml|
|Country of origin||France|
It all began in Marseille in the 1930s, when cafes sold any number of anise-based liqueurs, most of them illicit and too sweet for consumers’ tastes. In Sainte-Marthe, Paul Ricard, a wine-merchant’s son, dreamt of finding a formula “that would meet everyone’s tastes”. In his improvised laboratory he would macerate Provençal plants, fennel seeds, aniseed essence and more.
One day in 1932, he finally had his recipe, declaring, “It shall be called Ricard, the real pastis from Marseille!” At the age of only 23, Paul Ricard had just invented the first French long drink: one volume of pastis with five volumes of water, served with ice. “I am willing to put my name on it,” he proclaimed, “because I am sure of the quality of this pastis and proud of its unique taste”.
The young man had studied fine arts and so designed his drink’s first poster and label. Ricard pastis was an immediate hit. By 1938, sales already stood at 2.4 million litres. In 1984 the by now world-famous brand celebrated its billionth bottle.
The main ingredient is star anise, harvested in southern China where only the best fruits are handpicked, sundried and distilled on site to produce anise essential oil, which preserves the star anise’s full aroma. This rigorous selection process ensures that only the finest anise essential oils are used.
The pursuit of the finest flavours also takes us to the Middle East, in quest of another natural ingredient: liquorice. The most aromatic liquorice roots are selected on site as soon as they are harvested. This is the ingredient that gives Ricard pastis its roundness and legendary yellow hue.The journey ends in Provence’s garrigue. Thyme? Sarriette? Marjoram? The famous recipe remains secret, but owes much of its success to the aromas produced by Provençal plants.
In accordance with Paul Ricard’s original recipe, Ricard pastis should be served cold. It should be prepared by adding 10cl of chilled water to 2cl of Ricard and then adding the ice cubes last. This ritual will release the full aroma of the anise.
Ricard can be more or less diluted according to taste.The unique recipe makes for an ideal combination with cordials (like pomegranate, mint, orgeat or grapefruit) or fruit juices (mango, strawberry, cranberry). These different combinations produce a variety of colours and flavours for a new way to discover (or rediscover) the full flavour of anise.