Sweet Root: 5 Licorice Cocktails to Sip Now

Licorice is often in a love-hate relationship — haters toss the black jelly beans, lovers rifle through the bag to find them. If you’re a fan of licorice, this summer you’ll want to be sipping drinks with licorice notes from sambuca, Peychaud’s, pastis, anisette, absinthe, and ouzo. Here are five licorice cocktails you won’t want to miss.

The Fountain Lounge, New Orleans, Louisiana
Sip a celebrated Sazerac cocktail at this historical spot, also home to the historic Sazerac Bar. Invented in 1850ish in a saloon in the city’s Exchange Valley, the iconic cocktail served in a Sazerac glass is stirred with Sazerac 6-Year-Old Rye Whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, and a Herbsaint rinse. A lemon wheel clings to the rim. Make a reservation at The Fountain Lounge.

licorice cocktails

Bleu Boheme, San Diego, California
The La Vie en Rose is a nod to the classic Death in the Afternoon cocktail, poured with Ricard, Champagne, muddled raspberries, and a splash of simple syrup and lemon. Ricard is a pastis that, along with Pernod, became popular during the absinthe ban. Bartender Sarah Proctor prefers Ricard “because it is a grape-based distillate like the original absinthe, not grain like other brands.” Make a reservation at Bleu Boheme.

licorice cocktails

The Fitz, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Do the licorice twist on the classic French 75 at this Art Deco spot in the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel debuted in 1928 and its staff is keen on creating cocktails that were popular in the ’20s. The retro Sambuca 75 cocktail is created with Sambuca, lemon juice, and simple syrup and it’s topped with Champagne and a dash of Jamaican Bitters. Kissed with an expressed lemon peel garnish. Make a reservation at The Fitz.

licorice cocktails

Nico Osteria, Chicago, Illinois
Step right up to this Italian hot spot in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood and order The Step Right Up cocktail, a summer sip with a “vegetal backbone smoothed by floral and herbal flavors.” It’s built with snap pea-infused Ford’s gin, parsley syrup, and lemon juice — along with a cameo licorice appearance by way of Strega and Dolin Genepy des Alpes. Make a reservation at Nico Osteria.

licorice cocktails

Committee, Boston, Massachusetts
Ouzo is king at this Mediterranean restaurant in Boston’s trendy Seaport District. Order one of the two tasting flights on the cocktail menu — the Ouzo (Plomari, Barbayanni, Katsaros) or the Spirits of Greece (ouzo, Tsipouro, Mastiha). Bonus: Ouzo also shows up on Committee’s entree and dessert menus: ouzo and sea salt-cured anchovies; mussels with ouzo, fennel and caper berries; and chocolate mousse with ouzo spiked crema. Make a reservation at Committee.

licorice cocktails

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Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.