The idea of an aniseed-based drink is over 7000 years, even mentioned in the Book of Genesis as a remedy for plague and cholera, and has been thought to cure everything from toothaches to digestive problems throughout time.
The distinctive flavor of Pernod is created by mixing star anise, a spice originated from China that has a close resemblance to anise in flavor, and several different herbs, Pernod is considered the French answer to Ouzo from Greece or Ojen from Spain.
The drink is classed as a pastis, a French anise-flavored apéritif typically containing around 40%-45% of alcohol by volume. Pernod first became known as the successor of absinthe, a potent liquor that contained a toxic oil made from wormwood that were thought to cause brain damage, in 1915 absinthe was outlawed in France. This led one of the absinthe producers known as Henri Pernod to focus on creating a lower-alcohol drink without the wormwood toxin today known as Pernod.
The company Henri Pernod was started in 1797 by a man called Henri-Louis Pernod, the distillery was the first absinthe-distillery in Switzerland, and in 1975 the company merged with their rivals known as Ricard to form Pernod Ricard S.A. In 2008 Pernod Ricard won the bidding war to buy the "Vin & Sprit" group from the Swedish governement, this included, among others, the "Absolut Vodka" brand.
The beverage can also be used in cooking, and is known to enhance the flavor of braised fennel, celery or carrots, baked cabbage or onions and sauces served with asparagus or broccoli. It is recommended to add a teaspoon of Pernod to a salad dressing to give it a slight herbal taste, and is also known to make an intriguing addition to either hot or cold vegetables, or fish-based soups.
Pernod is very popular in parts of southern Europe for its thirst-quenching properties and is traditionally mixed with five parts of water in France.