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Absinthe relatives - ouzo and raki
Posted by Jonathan
on 07/28/06

A couple of interesting stories found on the web about some of absinthe's cousins. These are drinks that also taste like licorice (or, to be more specific, anise-flavors). Local favorites like ouzo (Greece), raki (Turkey), Sambuca (Italy) and PatxarŠn (Spain) all use anise as a flavoring and many can be watered down and "louched" just like absinthe.

This article, from the St. Petersburg (Fla) Times, has a very nice picture of a louched ouzo, a very pretty pearly white. The author describes the Greek culture" surrounding ouzo, some different brands, and how to drink it. Also included are some foods that go nicely with this pastis.

In The Spirit World, Brenda is Raki'n and Rollin' in Turkey. An even closer relative to absinthe than ouzo, raki goes way back and is often recommended by real absintheurs as a good baby step towards enjoying the much more complex emerald liquor of absinthe. And it has the added benefit of being available on most liquor store shelves! She also points out some good brands to try, as well as food to eat with it.

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