This piece originally appeared on NeedSupply.com.
For all its idyllic fields of flowers, lavender cookies and Cézanne and Van Gogh scenes come to life, Provence can be an oppressively hot place. Humidity in summertime regularly peaks at just below drowning and the Provençal smartly choose not to hermetically seal themselves inside A/C, but there are nonetheless some excellent ways to beat the heat. Chief among them is passing time in cafés, in the shade of stately old trees with an icy glass of pastis.
Though it was first branded and commercially prepared by early 20th century, the drink has been around in some form or another for far longer than that. Its kissing cousins, Greek ouzo and Turkish arak are also anise-based Mediterranean staples, but pastis is distinctively smoother, more mellow and almost always served on the rocks.