Drinking Anís in ANTEQUERA
Anís (pronounced ‘anees’), is one of the most popular drinks in Spain.
France has Ricard, Greece has Ouzo, and Spain has Anís.
Anís is a staple drink in bars and cafeterias in Antequera, and throughout Spain. It has been described as an indispensable part of the Spanish way of drinking.
It is drunk at any time of the day. Antequeranos sometimes have it with breakfast, either on it’s own, or in coffee.
Anís is a schnapps – a transparent spirit – made with aniseed seeds.
Distillation of Anis
It is made in small distilleries all over Spain. In Andalusia anís is distilled in Ojen, just north of Marbella, and Cazalla. Anís from both distilleries are well known in Spain.
Yet, by far the biggest distillery lies in Chinchon, which is 52 kilometres south of Madrid.
This small town is a favourite for excursions from the capital, which may include a meal in the famous main square, the Plaza Mayor, and the purchase of a bottle of local anís to take home
In Chinchon, the art of anís distillation goes back to the days of the Moor’s occupation. Vineyards in the area made it possible to make alcohol, which was then subjected to another distillation with aniseed.
Anís (pimpinella anisum in botanist speak) is a plant that originates in the Near East. It has a height of around 50 centimetres, bears white flowers and strongly aromatic fruit.
The plants need a lot of attention, and outside of Spain substitute plants are sometimes used (fennel in France for example).
In Chinchon, the Sociedad Alcoholera de Chinchon, the distillery, guarantees to distil the traditional way, with only genuine anís.
Types of Anis
Anís is available with a dry taste or sweet.
Dry anís usually has an alcohol content of 45 – 50 degrees. The Alcoholera de Chinchon does produce a ‘special dry’ variety at 74 degrees. I have never seen the latter available in Antequera, however, which is probably no bad thing!
Sweet anís is usually around 38 degrees in alcohol content.
Anís is quite commonly drunk with ice, which turns the colour to a milky light grey.
It is also drunk mixed with brandy. The gold colour of the brandy, and the transparent anís, have spawned the term sol y sombra (sun and shadow).
Buying Anis in ANTEQUERA
Brands you will commonly see on bar and supermarket shelves in Antequera, and throughout Spain, are Anis Castellana, and Anis Machaquito. Also to be looked for are Anis de Chinchon, and Anis Tunel.
A little copa of chilled anís with a black coffee is a delight.
You may also like to sample our Brandy section.