bottle of Ricard and a glass of pastis
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Ricard (Traditional Serve) Cocktail

Also known as “the Milk of Marseilles” for its off-white color, the Ricard is a classic French cocktail that epitomizes beauty in simplicity. Keep reading to find out what ingredients are needed to make one and how you can stir one up at home. 

Ricard Pastis Background

The history of the Ricard (traditional serve) is synonymous with the history of its inventor, Paul Ricard. At the tender age of 22, Paul Ricard was experimenting with various licorice-based spirits which he called “pastis”.

They were all anise-forward and very herbaceous, high in alcohol, and sure to give you a kick in the ass. After much trial and error, he finally came upon the winning formula which he dubbed, of course, the Ricard Pastis. 

The Ricard Pastis was the first of many pastis spirits that Paul Ricard would invent, not the least of which is the very famous Pernod, used as an aperitif around the world today.

He went on to establish a farm in Marseilles where he would grow the necessary ingredients and distill his signature spirits, selling them to restaurants and bars across the globe. 

However, the Ricard Pastis always held a tender place in the distiller’s heart, as it was his first successful creation and a very popular one in the Marseilles region.

To better present the complex flavors of his creation, he sought to invent a cocktail to serve as its vehicle. And so, the Ricard (traditional serve) was born. 

Using only Ricard Pastis and water, with an optional dash of grenadine for sweetness, the cocktail became a smash hit amongst people in the region. Today, it is one of the signature cocktails of France, indicative of the French philosophical ideal of beauty in simplicity. 

Although the Ricard only has one shot of alcohol in it, the pastis’ 45% ABV is more than enough to sit you down after having a couple. You can add more alcohol if you’d like, but be aware that you might wake up the next morning with a hangover that is more than you bargained for. 

Ricard (Traditional Serve) Ingredients

As with many other “classic” cocktails made around this period, the ingredients in the Ricard are surprisingly simple. This is because a wide variety of ingredients, spirits, and juices weren’t available to the common bartender. They only had a limited selection of things to choose from, hence the extremely simple formula. 

  • Ricard Pastis – 1 ounce (30ml)
  • Grenadine – 1 dash (optional)
  • Cold Water – 5 ounces (150ml)

How to Make a Ricard (Traditional Serve)

Same as the ingredient list, making the Ricard is a simple task. You don’t need any fancy bartending equipment to get the job done; just a highball glass and two working hands. 

  1. Add Ricard Pastis and grenadine (if you want) to a highball glass. 
  2. Slowly pour the cold water into the glass to ensure a thorough mixture.
  3. Add ice to the glass and stir until your desired dilution. 
  4. Enjoy!

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