The Jaw Breaker – an Anise Mocktail

A mocktail, a hammer and a bowl of star anise on dark slate tiles
Hard day smashing the patriarchy? You deserve a mocktail!

Does anyone besides me remember the big black jaw breakers that had an anise seed in the middle? It would take forever to suck that thing down, through all the different coloured layers, to get to the seed (if you did’t choke on the jaw breaker trying).

Star anise and seed anise are apparently two different things, but they both have that fresh liquorice -y taste. One of my grandmothers used to put star anise in her chicken soup, and I still like it that way.

For this simple mocktail I do a light syrup with sugar, because it brings out the flavour, but as always you can skip the sugar in the first step and add agave or honey to the infusion before pouring (just make sure to stir very well).

The Jaw Breaker Recipe

  • 4 oz anise syrup (see below)
  • 6 oz or so tonic water
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Recipe makes 2 mocktails, but you can scale up or down. In a mixing pitcher, pour the cold anise syrup over ice, add the tonic slowly, and 2 dashes grapefruit bitters, stir gently (unless you want a foamy drink). Strain into martini glass. Garnish with a star anise or grapefruit twist. If you’re substituting I wouldn’t use an orange bitters (bitter?), as it overpowers the anise here…

Anise Syrup Recipe:

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp of anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Put the water and anise seeds in a small pot, bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes – the infusion should reduce to by half (to about a 1 cup) Remove from heat, let cool. Strain through sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Refrigerate. Makes 8 oz of anise syrup. Keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, so go ahead and double the batch.

picture of anise seeds and star anise, as well as a cute dog because I didn't take enough pictures.
This is what happens when you don’t take enough pictures. You have to use cute dogs instead. Luckily I have a couple of those..