a taste of liquid sunshine
There is nothing close to the experience of sipping Pernod on a patio in the summertime. The pastis is light and incredibly refreshing, tasting faintly of anise and unlike a lot of cocktails, not too sweet. A simple squeeze of lemon enhances the aromas and opens up the flavours of the drink, giving it a depth that others come close to having, but don't.
The happy, sunny yellow colour of the drink is characteristic of this particular spirit. It pours clear out of the bottle, and turns milky-opaque when water (or ice) is added.
Which is very important to know.
Because, if say, one was sitting on the patio at jump and orders a Pernod with water and lemon, and receives something that is more of a milky beige than a sunny yellow, one would know that it is not Pernod and that the bartender is trying to pull the wool over one's eyes by substituting Ricard. Which does, by the way, taste different and has a stronger lingering licorice-like finish with none of the floral notes of Pernod.
(note to bartender... don't do it again)
Finding it in Toronto patios and bars is still a little difficult - demand and supply and the fact that marketing efforts seem to be concentrated in Quebec (aging French ex-pat target market and all that jazz). If you do manage to find it, prices will vary from the amazing value for money $4.55 at jump to a not so wallet friendly $10-something at the middle-management-convention filled louge at the hotel on Front St. across from Lone Star.
(see how far I'll go to avoid mentioning the name of that place...)
Word of caution. Pernod is definitely not the drink for everyone - some people find the anise flavour off-putting. And while I'm usually a card carrying member of the licorice haters party and really truly do think that the flavour of black licorice in anything is just plain icky, the mildness of the Pernod is strangely appealing... especially with that squeeze of lemon.