5 Absinthe Substitutes Best For Your Cocktails

Looking for a way to add a touch of uniqueness to your cocktails? Absinthe may be just the ingredient you’re looking for.

However, due to its unique flavor and effects, absinthe is not always easy to come by. Fortunately, there are a few excellent substitutes that can add similar flavor profiles and kick to your drinks.

Some of the best substitutes for Absinthe include Pernod Ricard, Marie Brizard Anisette, and Arak.

What is Absinthe?

Absinthe is a distilled, highly-alcoholic spirit that is flavored with botanicals. It is often given its characteristic green color through the addition of food coloring.

The most notable botanical ingredient in absinthe is wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), which gives the spirit its distinctive bitter flavor. Other common absinthe botanicals include anise, fennel, and hyssop.

Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the late eighteenth century and quickly became popular in France. It was particularly associated with bohemian artists and writers, who appreciated its unique flavor and effects.

Absinthe was eventually banned in many countries due to concerns about its potential for addiction and psychosis.

However, it has since been legalized in most jurisdictions and is once again enjoying popularity among connoisseurs.

What Does Absinthe Taste Like?

In general, absinthe has a bittersweet flavor with notes of anise and fennel. Some people also describe a menthol-like cooling sensation on the tongue.

Of course, there is a wide range of absinthes on the market, so flavors can vary depending on the brand and type of absinthe you’re tasting.

But if you’re curious about this infamous spirit, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its unique flavor profile.

What are the Benefits of Drinking Absinthe?

Absinthe has a number of benefits that make it popular among adults. First, Absinthe can help to relieve stress and tension. It can also help to improve focus and concentration.

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In addition, Absinthe can cause mild hallucinations, which can be enjoyable for some people. Finally, Absinthe can help to boost the immune system.

Although Absinthe has many benefits, it should be consumed in moderation. Overconsumption of Absinthe can lead to serious health problems, including liver damage and seizures.

Therefore, it is important to drink Absinthe responsibly.

What Can I Use Instead of Absinthe?

If you’re looking for a way to add the unique flavor of absinthe to your cocktails, there are a few excellent substitutes that can get the job done.

1. Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard is a French company that produces various liquors and spirits, including absinthe. Although absinthe is often associated with France, Pernod Ricard’s absinthe is actually produced in Switzerland.

The company’s absinthe is made with a combination of botanicals, including wormwood, anise, and fennel. Unlike some other brands of absinthe, Pernod Ricard’s absinthe does not contain any added sugar. As a result, it has a very dry, herbal flavor that is similar to that of traditional absinthe.

Pernod Ricard’s absinthe is also significantly higher in alcohol than most other brands, with an ABV of 68%. Despite its high alcohol content, Pernod Ricard’s absinthe is actually very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall, Pernod Ricard’s absinthe is an excellent substitute for traditional absinthe. It has a similar flavor profile and Alcohol by Volume but without the added sugar.

As a result, it is perfect for those who are looking for a dry, herbal-tasting substitute for absinthe.

2. Pastis

Pastis is a French anise-flavored liqueur that is often served as an apéritif. There are several different brands of Pastis that make great substitutes for Absinthe, including:

Pastis 51

Pastis 51 is a popular brand of pastis, made with a combination of anise, licorice, and other botanicals. It has an ABV of 51%, which is significantly lower than that of most absinthe.

As a result, Pastis 51 is much easier to drink than most absinthes. It also has a sweeter, less bitter flavor than most absinthes.

Overall, Pastis 51 is an excellent substitute for absinthe. It has a similar flavor profile but without the bitterness of wormwood.

It is also much lower in alcohol, making it perfect for those who want to enjoy the flavor of absinthe without the high

Ricard Pastis

Unlike absinthe, Ricard Pastis contains no wormwood and is therefore not as bitter. It is typically served diluted with water, which further reduces its bitterness.

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Ricard Pastis is also lower in alcohol content than absinthe, making it a good choice for those who are looking for a less potent drink.

In addition, the two drinks have different colorings. Absinthe is usually green or yellow, while Ricard Pastis is brown. This difference is due to the fact that Ricard Pastis is made with anise and licorice, which give it its characteristic flavor and color.

Overall, Ricard Pastis is a good substitute for absinthe. 

Casanis Pastis

Like absinthe, it is made with anise and other botanical ingredients.

However, Casanis Pastis does not contain any of the controversial wormwood constituent that gives absinthe its green color and distinctive flavor.

As a result, Casanis Pastis does not have the same intense herbal flavor as absinthe. Instead, it is smoother and more mellow, with a light licorice taste.

Casanis Pastis can be enjoyed on its own or used in cocktails. It is also said to be a good substitute for absinthe in cooking, adding a subtle anise flavor to dishes. 

3. Marie Brizard Anisette

For those who enjoy the taste of absinthe but are looking for a less potent drink, Marie Brizard Anisette may be the perfect choice.

This anise-flavored liqueur is similar in taste to absinthe, but has a lower alcohol content. As a result, it can be enjoyed without the risk of becoming intoxicated.

Additionally, Marie Brizard Anisette is less likely to cause the “absinthe effect,” which can lead to hallucinations and other side effects.

For these reasons, Marie Brizard Anisette makes an excellent substitute for absinthe.

4. Arak

Arak is a distilled alcoholic drink popular in the Middle East. It is made from grapes and aniseed and has a high alcohol content. Arak is often used as a substitute for absinthe, as it has a similar taste and appearance.

However, there are some important differences between the two drinks. Absinthe is made from wormwood, which gives it a distinctive bitter flavor.

Arak is also usually diluted with water before being consumed, whereas absinthe is traditionally served straight.

As a result of these differences, absinthe and arak can be considered two distinct drinks, each with its own unique flavor profile.

5. Ouzo

Ouzo and absinthe are both anise-flavored liqueurs that are popular in Europe. Both drinks are clear when they are distilled, but ouzo turns cloudy when mixed with water.

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This is because it contains oils from the anise seed that are not soluble in water.

Ouzo is usually made with a blend of several different herbs, including anise, fennel, and coriander.

Ouzo has a sweeter flavor than absinthe and is typically less expensive. For these reasons, ouzo can be a good substitute for absinthe.

How to Make a Sazerac Cocktail Without Using Absinthe

A Sazerac Cocktail is a classic drink that is traditionally made with absinthe.

However, it is possible to make a Sazerac Cocktail without using absinthe.

To do this, you will need to use a substitute for the absinthe, some of which are listed above.


  • 1 oz of your chosen absinthe substitute
  • 1 oz rye whiskey
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters or Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon peel


  1. Pour the absinthe substitute into a rocks glass.
  2. Add the rye whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters to a shaker filled with ice.
  3. Shake well and strain into the glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon peel and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is absinthe called the Green Fairy?

Absinthe is often green in color, which has led to it being nicknamed the Green Fairy. It is said that absinthe can cause hallucinations and other psychedelic effects due to the presence of thujone, a chemical compound found in wormwood. 

Is Absinthe OK to drink?

Absinthe is safe to drink in moderation. However, it should be avoided by pregnant women and those with liver problems. Absinthe can also cause the “absinthe effect,” which leads to hallucinations and other side effects.

How expensive is absinthe?

Absinthe is typically more expensive than other alcoholic drinks. This is because it is made with high-quality ingredients and has a high alcohol content. 

What other uses are there for absinthe?

Absinthe can be used as a substitute for other alcohols such as green chartreuse. It can also be used in cooking, as it can add a unique flavor to dishes. 

Final Thoughts

Absinthe is a unique and interesting drink that can be enjoyed in moderation. If you are looking for an absinthe substitute, there are several options available, each with its own distinct flavor. Choose the absinthe substitute that best suits your taste and enjoy.