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Mauresque Cocktail

Discover why drinking a Mauresque Cocktail is one of the greatest joys of visiting Marseille. Then learn how to make the pastis cocktail at home.

Mauresque Cocktail from Above
Image: ©2foodtrippers

A visit to Marseille would be incomplete without enjoying one or ten Mauresque cocktails. This is a city where locals and travelers drink the Provençal favorite while soaking in the sun at outdoor cafes from dawn to dusk.

We were no exception when we first visited the French port in 2016. We fell hard for the pastis cocktail while eating dinner with Marseille locals. How could we resist the tasty tipple that often cost us less than a chilled glass of Perrier?

Marseille Port
Views in Marseille provide an ideal backdrop for eating bouillabaisse and drinking Mauresque cocktails. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

As we later discovered, making a Mauresque at home is ridiculously effortless. In fact, the Mauresque cocktail is one of the world’s easiest cocktails, rivaling the eponymous G+T in its simplicity to craft.

But don’t let this pastis drink fool you based on its painless preparation. Not only does the Mauresque have a fascinating history, but the refreshing aperitif also possesses unique, transportive flavors of star anise and almond in every sweet sip.

What Is A Mauresque Cocktail?

Mauresque Cocktail on Street
We drank this Mauresque cocktail right after we took this photo in our Lisbon neighborhood. We’re pleased to report that the ice didn’t melt. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We weren’t the first travelers to succumb to the deceptively innocent Mauresque and we won’t be the last. Invented by the French and named after the Moors, the global cocktail’s history dates back to the 19th century.

One legend asserts that French soldiers, who imbibed absinthe to prevent malaria, originally crafted the cocktail with absinthe while serving in Africa. Another links the colorful name to white Moorish clothing since a mixed Mauresque is milky white.

Mixing Mauresque Cocktail
Don’t worry. A Mauresque cocktail tastes great without absinthe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Fun Fact
After flowing freely during the Belle Epoque, absinthe was illegal to drink in France from 1915 to 2000 due to fears that it caused madness. Though those fears have abated, the green elixir’s modern iteration has a reduced level of thujone. Adventurous drinkers can order absinthe cocktails at bars in cities like Paris and San Francisco.

Unlike the Maursque’s origin story, there’s no debate that the drink is wildly popular in the Côte d’Azur where bartenders have replaced absinthe with pastis, the national drink of France. The best bartenders use Pastis de Marseille.

Discover our favorite French cocktails.

Pastis De Marseille

Marseille’s pastis liqueur is intoxicating to those who adore anisette. With a minimum ABV of 45%, it’s also intoxicating to anyone who drinks the liquor to excess. As always, we recommend moderation.

Star Anise in Bowl
Star anise is the ‘star’ ingredient in Pastis de Marseille. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Similar to ouzo in Greece and sambuca in Italy, Pastis de Marseille’s main ingredient is star anise. Licorice root and a mix of Provencal herbs add extra flavor. Unlike absinthe, green anise and wormwood are not in the mix.

Bottles of Pastis de Marseille in Marseille
We spotted these bottles of Pastis de Marseille at a Marseille souvenir store. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pro Tip
You can buy bottles of Pastis de Marseille at tourist shops in Marseille’s Old Port while strolling along the azure Mediterranean Sea. Drink them in your hotel room or save them as edible souvenirs.


Mauresque Ingredients
Once you buy Pastis de Marseille and Orgeat, you’re ready to make a Mauresque. The only other necessary ingredients are water and ice. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The list of Mauresqe ingredients is incredibly short:

  • Pastis
  • Orgeat
  • Cold Water
  • Ice Cubes

Since the Mauresque’s ingredient list is so short, it’s important to use the best available products. In our recipe, we use Ricard Pastis de Marseille and Monin Orgeat.

Bottles of Pastis and Orgeat
Ricard Pastis de Marseille and Monin Orgeat were destined to drink together. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Ricard has been producing Pastis de Marseille in France since 1932 when Paul Ricard created the liqueur as a substitute for absinthe. Now produced by Pernod-Ricard, this French pastis has a complex flavor thanks to Asian star anise and licorice as well as locally sourced Provençal herbs. After maceration and distillation, the resulting Ricard alcohol is both earthy and smooth.

Also produced in France, Monin Orgeat is a premium sirop infused with almonds and sugar. The sweet, nutty flavor of the opaque white syrup provides a pleasing counterbalance to the pastis’ herbaceousness.

How To Craft A Mauresque Cocktail

Pouring Orgeat for Mauresque Cocktail
Pouring without spilling is the most complicated step of making a Mauresque at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Mauresque cocktail is one of the easiest cocktails to make at home. However, don’t underestimate the drink’s complex flavor and alcoholic impact.

Be sure to add a healthy amount of water and a handful of ice to your home-made Mauresque cocktails. Water dilutes the alcohol level and creates a larger drink that’s sippable on a balcony, porch or other outdoor space.

Adding a star anise is purely decorative but we find it provides a classy touch.

Mauresque Cocktail with Olives and Nuts
We like to pair our Mauresque cocktails with nuts and olives for early evening aperitivo sessions. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We recommend that you drink this pastis aperitif as if you’re in Marseille. Make it at the end of the day and enjoy it while you watch the sun set. Nibbles like salty olives and crunchy nuts complete the Mediterranean experience.

Pro Tip
Try our Maruesque recipe a few times for ‘research’ purposes before you move on to other cocktails with pastis. You can modify the recipe by replacing orgeat with grenadine to create a Tomate cocktail. Or you can keep it simple with just water and ice for a more potent, less sweet pastis drink.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where was the Mauresque cocktail invented?

The Mauresque was invented in France

What are the ingredients in a Mauresque cocktail?

Pastis, Orgeat, Cold Water and Ice

Is the Mauresque shaken or stirred?

The Mauresque is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for the Mauresque cocktail?

We like to serve this cocktail in a highball glass and you should do the same.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Mauresque Cocktail from Above
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5 from 4 votes

Mauresque Recipe

Drinking a Mauresque cocktail will transport you to the South of France without the stress of taking a plane ride.
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 151kcal



  • Pour pastis and orgeat almond syrup in a glass.
  • Gently stir.
  • Add ice.
  • Top off the glass with cold water.
  • Optional: Garnish with star anise.

Pro Tips

  • You can use a lowball glass, highball glass or goblet.
  • You can adjust the drink’s potency by adding more or less water.
  • Pair with olives and nuts.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Sugar: 10g
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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: May 20, 2020

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