What is the Best Substitute for Pernod?

by Charlie

Flavorful, with a high alcohol concentration, Pernod is a French liqueur that does magic in a lot of dishes. If you’ve ever eaten French seafood prepared using Pernod, appreciating its importance should come naturally.

Of course, it is also a nice liqueur to sip if you crave a little anise and licorice-flavored liqueur. Although particularly popular in France, Pernod has an immense following globally, and there’s a good reason for that. The liqueur has a special spot in several recipes, especially seafood dish recipes.

But what happens when Pernod is not available? If you find Pernod in a recipe but don’t have access to it at that point, what’s next?

What are the best substitutes for Pernod? The best substitutes for Pernod are Pastis and Absinthe. Other plausible options include white wine, lemon juice, and whiskey. 

An Overview of Pernod

Like most excellent liqueur, Pernod has been around for several decades. It was invented and marketed as a substitute for absinthe (which used to have hallucinatory effects).

Pernod has morphed from just being an exciting liqueur to sip to being a part of recipes for scrumptious dishes during the several years of its existence. However, as a drink, it hasn’t faded in glory. It is a great drink to take as an aperitif. It’s fairly high alcohol concentration means it sometimes needs a bit of watering down.

One of the highlights of drinking Pernod is watching it morph from a mostly transparent yellowish tint into a cloudy creamy liquid as you dilute it with water. Whether you are drinking it diluted, undiluted, or using it for cooking, Pernod has a way of making your taste buds feel good. 

Why Replace Pernod?

Sure, Pernod is nice and all, but there could be times when it’s not accessible for a number of reasons. It could be:

You need cheaper alternatives: Pernod is not particularly the cheapest of alcoholic drinks. It could be that you’re on a budget or just simply need cheaper options for the long term. 

You need a non-alcoholic alternative: Of course, it’s not everyone that’s cool with alcoholic drinks. If you need something that does the work of Pernod but free of alcohol, we’ve got you covered.

Best Substitutes for Pernod: Pastis and Absinthe

Below are some excellent substitutes for Pernod:

Pastis

Pastis is as close to Pernod as any popular and widely available liqueur can get. It is produced by the same company and has similar anise and licorice flavor. It also has a high alcohol concentration, a little higher than Pernod.

It can be a bit off-putting for those that aren’t big on alcohol consumption. Fans of black licorice will almost certainly find it endearing. There’s magic to be made while sipping it with some ice cubes. You’ll find it comforting as an aperitif. 

However, it’s not just the taste that makes it a good substitute. Just like Pernod, Pastis is a great recipe for making seafood. If you’re a fan of seafood pasta or seafood paella, pastis can help give it a taste that is similar to what you’ll get with Pernod.

Although it has a higher alcohol concentration than Pernod, most of the alcohol should evaporate when cooked. 

Absinthe

If Pernod liqueur was a human, absinthe would probably be its cousin. Pernod was invented in response to a ban on absinthe. That is precisely why the drink was curated in a way that offers great similarity to Pernod.

Like Pernod, it has an anise flavor and some mixture of several botanicals. The presence of several botanicals is why absinthe is green-colored. Although absinthe has been around for several decades, there have been several changes to its original ingredient list.

However, if you’re someone with an old spirit, present-day absinthe should still get you excited. They’re great as drinks and also useful in the kitchen. It features a lot in recipes for traditional European dishes, and there’s a good reason for that.

If you’re searching for an alternative for Pernod in seafood dishes, absinthe should be able to get the job done. 

Other Plausible Substitutes for Pernod

If you’re not comfortable with Pastis or Absinthe, below are some other options to try:

White Wine

Of course, there has to be white wine. Is there a more versatile drink out there? It is not just great for causal drinking; it is also very useful in cooking.

It might not have the taste and flavor that Pernod offers, but white wine will do the job that Pernod does in a number of seafood dishes. Apart from seafood, it is also a key component in a number of European dishes.

What’s more, it is widely available and therefore one of the safest bets in the absence of Pernod. It will do a nice job in pasta, risotto, quiches, and even desserts. It introduces some useful acidity to your dishes. This acidity is what helps to rid your seafood and meat of funky smells. 

Whiskey

Whiskey might come as a surprise to some, but for aficionados in the culinary space, whiskey is no newcomer. Aged whiskey has a great flavor that could be very useful with red meat and seafood.

Although it is not a costly alternative to Pernod, if you have one lying around, there’s no reason you can’t put it to work. In terms of casual drinking, whiskey needs no introduction. It has been on the shelves of bars since time immemorial.

If you’re looking for an aperitif, toned down whiskey might help. However, whiskey is not an ideal option. Instead, it is better to use it as a digestif. 

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice might not be an ideal substitute for Pernod, but it is probably the cheapest non-alcoholic alternative to Pernod you can easily get your hands on. The difference in taste is probably going to be very noticeable in your dishes, but there’s a good reason people have always recommended lemon juice.

With just a few squeezes, you can bid farewell to those funky smells from seafood and red meat. In a nutshell, it is not the best of substitutes, but depending on the recipe involved, lemon juice could get the job done.

While Pastis and Absinthe are the top recommendations, the option that would best suit your needs would ultimately depend on the dish you are trying to prepare.

You may also like