Ricard is the world’s bestselling anise-based spirit. What makes it one of a kind is its inimitable taste and unique production method that guarantees quality.
It all began in Marseille in the 1930s, when cafes sold any number of anise-based liqueurs, most of them illicit and too sweet for consumers’ tastes. In Sainte-Marthe, Paul Ricard, a wine-merchant’s son, dreamt of finding a formula “that would meet everyone’s tastes”. In his improvised laboratory he would macerate Provençal plants, fennel seeds, aniseed essence and more.
One day in 1932, he finally had his recipe, declaring, “It shall be called Ricard, the real pastis from Marseille!” At the age of only 23, Paul Ricard had just invented the first French long drink: one volume of pastis with five volumes of water, served with ice. “I am willing to put my name on it,” he proclaimed, “because I am sure of the quality of this pastis and proud of its unique taste”.
The young man had studied fine arts and so designed his drink’s first poster and label. Ricard pastis was an immediate hit. By 1938, sales already stood at 2.4 million litres. In 1984 the by now world-famous brand celebrated its billionth bottle.
Ricard pastis is still made using Paul Ricard’s original recipe, which has remained a secret since 1932.
Carefully selected ingredients
The reputation of Ricard pastis is built on the quality and variety of its natural ingredients.
The main ingredient is star anise, harvested in southern China where only the best fruits are handpicked, sundried and distilled on site to produce anise essential oil, which preserves the star anise’s full aroma. This rigorous selection process ensures that only the finest anise essential oils are used.
The pursuit of the finest flavours also takes us to the Middle East, in quest of another natural ingredient: liquorice. The most aromatic liquorice roots are selected on site as soon as they are harvested. This is the ingredient that gives Ricard pastis its roundness and legendary yellow hue.
The journey ends in Provence’s garrigue. Thyme? Sarriette? Marjoram? The famous recipe remains secret, but owes much of its success to the aromas produced by Provençal plants.
Bessan: where the aromas come to life
Once they arrive at Ricard’s aroma production plant in Bessan, a small village near Béziers, the anise essential oils undergo a purification process called rectification. The liquorice is also carefully processed. First it is crushed, then undergoes an exclusive three-stage hot maceration process that extracts the liquorice aromas and produces a perfectly even liquid.
The various ingredients are then blended using a secret protocol which gives Ricard its consistent flavour and aromas. Lastly, the pastis is filtered three times before bottling.
The strictest standards at every stage
All throughout the production process, every bottle of Ricard is subject to over 50 quality controls on the ingredients and the finished product. Technology plays an important role, but the tasters’ nose and palate are also what guarantee the quality and consistency of its taste. Employees are carefully selected and trained to sit on the tasting panels that test the products daily at the company’s production sites.
Tasting & Serving
In accordance with Paul Ricard’s original recipe, Ricard pastis should be served cold. It should be prepared by adding 10cl of chilled water to 2cl of Ricard and then adding the ice cubes last. This ritual will release the full aroma of the anise.
Ricard can be more or less diluted according to taste.
The unique recipe makes for an ideal combination with cordials (like pomegranate, mint, orgeat or grapefruit) or fruit juices (mango, strawberry, cranberry). These different combinations produce a variety of colours and flavours for a new way to discover (or rediscover) the full flavour of anise.
Visit our website for more serving suggestions: Ricard.com
From the 2cl miniature bottle to the gallon (450cl), Ricard comes in a range of formats suitable for the different times, places and ways it is consumed.Visit the brand website