The 9 Best Substitutes For Anisette Liqueur

What can I use instead of anisette liqueur? First, sambuca, a licorice-flavored liqueur, is the best replacement for anisette liqueur. Then other suitable alcoholic alternatives with intense anise notes include pastis, ouzo, arak, raki, and absinthe. Lastly, consider anise extract or licorice extract as a non-alcoholic substitute. 

Anisette is a popular Mediterranean liqueur made from surgarcane wine, aniseed, and sugar. The liqueur has a strong licorice flavor and aroma. It is often served as an aperitif, digestive after meals, or Filipino cuisine.

Consider using one of the following replacements if your bottle of anisette liqueur runs dry:

The Best Anisette Liqueur Alternatives


Sambuca is an Italian liqueur made using distilled anise extract, elderberries, licorice root, and other herbs and spices. It the closest liqueur replacement to Anisette liqueur.

Sambuca is perfect for after-dinner drinks, spicing up a cuppa joe, or adding a little something extra to your favorite cocktails.

You can also replace anisette liqueur by adding sambuca in desserts, shrimp, and anise-flavored vegetable recipes.

Sambuca has 38% alcohol content compared to 25% of anisette liqueur.

Therefore, you can use them interchangeably in recipes that require cooking – the alcohol will evaporate. However, use around ½ teaspoon for every teaspoon anisette liqueur.


Pastis is a French anise-flavored spirit made from a blend of anise extract, licorice flavoring, or licorice root and a neutral spirit. Consider substituting anisette liqueur for pastis if you’re in a pinch.

Pastis is an easy, satisfying drink perfect for a summer aperitif. However, the anise kick is especially well-suited to savory and seafood dishes.

Pastis contains around 40 to 45% alcohol content compared to 25% of anisette liqueur.

As a result, pastis will have a more concentrated flavor. Use half the amount of pastis that the recipe calls for and adjust to your preference.


Pernod, another French anise-flavored spirit made by the same manufacturers as pastis (it is often called pastis too).

The spirit is made using star anise, herbs, fennel, and other botanicals. The intense black licorice flavor makes it the perfect substitute for anisette liqueur.

Pernod pairs beautifully with French seafood recipes, braised chicken dishes, braised fennel, or warm drinks.

Pernod contains around 40% alcohol content compared to 25% of anisette liqueur.

Therefore, use around half the amount of Pernod when substituting it for Anisette liqueur to prevent the pungent flavors from being too intense in your recipes. 


Ouzo, Greece’s national spirit, is a colorless liqueur made from grape must. This aperitif is a suitable substitute for anisette liqueur thanks to its distinct anise and licorice flavors.

The Greek elixir contains other spices compared to anisette liqueur, like cinnamon, fennel, and cardamom, giving it a slightly different taste. Still, the anise flavors are intense enough to work as a suitable replacement.

Ouzo is delicious in seafood dishes, vinaigrettes, and sautéed vegetables. 

Note that ouzo packs a stronger punch than anisette liqueur. This is because ouzo’s alcohol volume ranges between 37.5 to 50% compared to 25% of anisette liqueur.

So, use ½ teaspoon ouzo for every 1 teaspoon anisette liqueur.


Arak is a distilled spirit from the Middle East. It is generally made from distilled grapes and aniseed. When crushed, the seeds produce an intense licorice taste, giving the primary anise and licorice characteristics to arak.

Use arak to replace anisette liqueur when marinading red meat, in iconic Lebanese recipes, or in crafted cocktails.

Arak typically contains between 40 and 63% alcohol. So, ensure to use it sparingly when replacing anisette liqueur.

For example, use ½ teaspoon arak for every 1 teaspoon anisette liqueur and adjust accordingly.


Raki is a traditional Greek spirit made from fermented grapes and aniseed. This aperitif is another ideal licorice-flavored substitute for anisette liqueur.

Raki is perfect for seafood dishes like prawns, oysters, and fish. You can also use raki to create a flavorsome licorice-flavored beverage.

Raki contains around 30 to 40% alcohol. You can replace it with an anisette liqueur using a 1:1 ratio.

However, raki is slightly sweeter than anisette liqueur, so you may want to adjust the amount of sugar you add to your recipe.


Absinthe, French for wormwood, is a spirit made with a traditional base and flavored with botanicals. Absinthe predominantly boasts a green hue and bitter flavors of wormwood, green anise, licorice, and fennel.

You can use absinthe in crafted cocktails, sauces, seafood dishes, or red meats. However, ensure you use it sparingly, as it’s incredibly potent.

Anisette liqueur is sweeter than absinthe, so you may have to add extra sugar to the recipe. But, then, absinthe contains between 45 and 70% alcohol by volume compared to the 25% of anisette liqueur.

So, scale down to at least half the recipe’s recommended amount when replacing anisette liqueur with absinthe.

Anise Extract

Anise extract is the perfect non-alcoholic substitute for anisette liqueur. This sweet and spicy oil has a similar licorice flavor to anisette liqueur.

Replace anisette liqueur with anise extract in savory dishes, refreshing beverages, and baked goods like cookies, cakes, pastries, and ice cream. You can even use anise extract to make an anisette liqueur.

Anise extract is highly concentrated. So, only use 1 teaspoon anise extract to replace 2 tablespoons anisette liqueur.

Licorice Extract

Licorice extract is another suitable non-alcoholic replacement for anisette liqueur. It lends a strikingly similar taste and aroma to anise seeds despite their different components.

You can use licorice extract in most recipes that call for anisette liqueur, including meat rubs, beverages, and desserts.

Replace anisette liqueur with licorice extract using a 2:1 ratio due to the intense flavors of licorice extract.