Liquor Laboratory

What Liquor Tastes Like Black Licorice? 10 Brands (2024)

What Liquor Tastes Like Black Licorice

I’ve encountered various alcoholic beverages, each offering distinct flavors, but there are few offering a distinct black licorice flavor.

The special black licorice flavor (from licorice root or anise) is often found in certain spirits, such as absinthe and other anise-flavored liquors.

But really, what liquor tastes like black licorice?

Today, I’ll share more intriguing liquor options with the unique essence of black licorice that’ll surely capture your tastebuds!

Top 10 Liquors That Taste Like Black Licorice Flavor

1. Mey Yeni Raki

Mey Yeni Raki on Top of a Table

Country of Origin: Turkey

Alcohol Content: About 45% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★★

How It Tastes: Derived from the licorice root, the licorice flavor of Mey Yeni Raki has a hint of grape sweetness, best enjoyed diluted with cold water or ice.

We always opt for trusted brands like Tekirdag’s Gold Series to savor a safe and delightful experience for this anise-flavored liquor.

2. Salmiakki

Person Holding Salmiakki

Country of Origin: Finland

Alcohol Content: 32% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★★

How It Tastes: Salmialkki is a recognized and protected spirit that tastes similar to black licorice and is almost similar to Sambuca but has a distinct salty mineral kick.

“Unlock the mystique of liquors with anise’s allure; a dance of sweet enchantment and herbal charm that leaves taste buds bewitched, craving more.” – Liquor Laboratory

We recommend enjoying these anise-flavored liquors straight, on the rocks, or as a shot. You can also add this anise-flavored liquor to mixed drinks, but it may overwhelm the overall flavor.

Read: Main Flavor of Gin

3. Mastika

Country of Origin: Greece

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

How It Tastes: Mastika, a Greek liqueur, is one of the savory anise-flavored liquors, boasting a unique blend of mastic tree resin and aniseed.

The anise flavor imparts a herbaceous profile with pronounced notes of pine and earthiness from mastic, balanced by the aniseed’s sweet and licorice taste.

4. Aguardiente

Bottle of Aguardiente

Country of Origin: Colombia

Alcohol Content: around 29-60% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

How It Tastes: Aguardiente liquors taste like a strong licorice flavor, owing to the presence of licorice plant and star anise.

It’s not sweet despite being distilled from sugar cane and macerating aniseed, making this anise-flavored spirit a potent and distinct shot best enjoyed without mixers.

5. Ouzo Metaxa

Country of Origin: Greece

Alcohol Content: around 40% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

How It Tastes: Greek Ouzo delights the palate with its unique flavor of fennel and black licorice taste. This Greek grape-based distillate gives a refreshing and herbal taste that lingers pleasantly.

We suggest seeking out reputable brands like Verino if you want the best experience within the liquor world.

6. Oghi

Country of Origin: Armenia

Alcohol Content: around 50% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

How It Tastes: Oghi is an Armenian aniseed-flavored spirit boasting the dominant flavor of anise and licorice taste that demands dilution.

Its anise fruit-based distillation delivers a punch that complements hearty Armenian cuisine. It’s typically served in small shot glasses and is a traditional morning delight.

Read: Food That Goes Well With Whiskey

7. Xtabentun

Country of Origin: Mexico

Alcohol Content: Around 30% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

How It Tastes: Xtabentun’s licorice taste derives from rum, aniseed, and honey, resulting in an incredibly sweet flavor.

Though it tastes similar to black licorice, this is more of a sweet liqueur, best enjoyed with a mixer rather than neat. You can mix simple syrup to balance the taste.

Quick Fact: Among other anise spirits, this Mexican liqueur’s name holds a romantic tale, as it originates from the flower bees gathering nectar for honey, providing the fermentable sugar for the alcohol.

8. Absente Absinthe Refined

Absente Absinthe Refined

Country of Origin: France

Alcohol Content: 55% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

How It Tastes: The dominant anise flavor shines through, while the Absinthe complexity is evident with herbaceous notes. The black licorice flavor adds a delightful touch to this refined spirit.

And among other black licorice-flavored liqueurs, Absente Absinthe has a stronger kick, perfect for those looking for a complex drink.

9. Pernod Paris

Pernod Paris

Country of Origin: France

Alcohol Content: 40% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

How It Tastes: Pernod Paris is an aniseed-flavored liqueur with a smooth taste and herbaceous character.

We like the delightful blend of botanicals in this French liqueur, making it a balanced and refreshing drink, perfect for classic cocktails or sipping neat.

Read: What Rum Tastes Like

10. Sambuca

Country of Origin: Italy

Alcohol Content: Approx. 38% ABV

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

How It Tastes: Unlike Amaro, a bitter liqueur, Sambuca [1] is an Italian liqueur with a super-sweet, herby flavor, blending star anise, dill extract, and the flowering plant, elderflower.

“I put the coffee and Sambuca up to my nose. The licorice didn’t smell strong enough against the smell of the coffee, so I added some Sambuca.” — Charles Brandt

Among other anise-centric spirits, Sambuca is perfect for post-meal sipping or adding to corto espresso for an Italian twist.

Fun Fact: Sambuca is traditionally served with three coffee beans, which represent health, happiness, and prosperity.

*Note: The star rating was determined based on a blind test, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. The liquors that taste like black licorice are evaluated on their overall quality, flavor profile, complexity, smoothness, and similarity with licorice.

FAQs Related to What Liquor Tastes Like Black Licorice?

What flavor tastes like black licorice?

The flavor that tastes similar to black licorice is anise. It’s a distinctive and bold taste with sweet, herbal, and slightly spicy notes.
Anise-flavored liquors, like absinthe [2] and certain green aniseed-flavored licorice liqueurs, showcase this flavor, evoking a unique and polarizing flavor experience for the taste buds.

What wine tastes similar to black licorice?

The wine liquor that tastes like black licorice includes Amarone della Valpolicella. This Italian red wine exhibits intense flavors of dark fruits, dried figs, and raisins, accompanied by hints of anise and black licorice flavor.
Its rich, complex profile and smooth finish make it a captivating choice for licorice enthusiasts.

What gives these liquors their Black Licorice flavor?

The characteristic black licorice flavor in these liquors comes from the addition of aniseed, fennel, or star anise during the distillation or infusion process.

Are there variations in Black Licorice flavor among these liquors?

Yes, while absinthe, ouzo, sambuca, and pastis all share a black licorice flavor profile, each may have subtle differences in taste, intensity, and other botanicals or herbs used in their production.

What mixers can enhance the Black Licorice flavor in cocktails?

Mixers like water, sugar, or ice can be added to anise-flavored liquors to dilute the intensity of the licorice flavor. Additionally, certain cocktails may incorporate ingredients like citrus or fruit juices to complement the licorice taste.

Can I enjoy these liquors neat or should they be mixed?

Anise-flavored liquors can be enjoyed neat, with ice, or in cocktails depending on personal preference. Some prefer to savor the distinct licorice flavor on its own, while others enjoy it mixed with other ingredients.

Are there Non-Alcoholic options that taste like Black Licorice?

While there are no exact replicas, certain herbal teas or candies containing anise or licorice root may offer a similar flavor profile without the alcohol content.

On A Final Note

Licorice-flavored liqueurs and certain anise-flavored liquors deliver a distinct and bold taste, giving a unique drinking experience.

And among other anise-flavored liquors, Sambuca, Absinthe, and Pernod Paris stand out as best-tasting drinks, boasting sweet herbal notes that taste like black licorice.

Their unique essence captures our hearts and taste buds, perfect for sipping or mixing in creative cocktails.


  1. Forget everything you think you know about sambuca
  2. What Is Absinthe?
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