Most Mediterranean countries have favorite anise flavored spirit. Think Absinth and Anisette in France, Sambuca in Italy, and Ouzo in Greece. The drinks are made from anise seed which made be distilled or macerated but after that the recipe may be very specific like that of Sambuca, or made without restrictions, like Anisette. The result is considerable variation among anise flavored spirits in regard to taste as well as alcohol content. My paternal grandmother, Helen, S. Wright, included a recipe in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, for an anise-seed cordial which seems to be very basic with only three ingredients: (bruised) anise seed, proof spirits, and water. Photo Credit Franz Eugen Kohler Wikipedia
In the words of my grandmother:
Take one-half pound bruised anise-seed, three gallons proof spirits, one quart of water. Draw off two gallons, with a moderate fire. this water should never be reduced below proof, because the large quantity of oil with which it is impregnated will render it milky and foul when brought down below proof. But if there is a necessity for doing this the transparency may be restored by filtration.
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