(re-posting from the archive)
Absinthe is an old, traditional herbal liqueur that has a strong licorice flavour from anise seeds. The drink was in vogue in the late 19th century, and is the ancestor of today’s anise liqueurs. This legendary liqueur is featured in many classic cocktails such as the Death In The Afternoon. A good quality Absinthe is expensive and not easily found on the shelves of liquor stores in North America.
The following five anise liqueurs are excellent substitutes when a recipe calls for Absinthe. They are sweeter, but have the intense anise / licorice flavour essential to many cocktails. They are Pernod, Pastis 51, Ricard Pastis, Casanis Pastis, and Marie Brizard Anisette.
Other liqueurs that have a predominant anise flavour are: Sambuca, Arack, Raki, Anesone, Ouzo, and Tsipouro.