Star anise (Illcium verum) is  the star shaped fruit of a small evergreen tree native to southwest China. Star anise has multiple culinary uses in the cuisines of India, China, Vietnam and Malaysia, where it lends a strong, black licorice note to everything from pho to chai tea to garam masala. 

Star anise has seen more usage lately in the cocktail world as a substitute for the more expensive anise root. It takes infusion well, though anise flavors are not popular in the wider market yet. Star anise can also be used as a cocktail garnish, though it is not edible. 

Some popular cocktails containing Star anise

  • Cosmopolitan Milk Punch — Vodka, Tawny port, Triple sec, Tonic water, Cardamom, Cranberry juice, Milk, Star anise, Lime juice, Sugar, Bay leaf, Clove, Pomegranate molasses, Orange peel, Grapefruit peel
  • Rites of Spring — Aquavit, Bianco Vermouth, Pear liqueur, Bitters, Oleo-saccharum, Star anise, Lemon peel
  • Vernis à Ongle — Haitian Rum, Bigallet China-China, Sweet vermouth, Star anise
  • Two Islands — Scotch, Averna, Sweet vermouth, Islay Scotch, Orange bitters, Star anise
  • Fall Into My Glass — Pear liqueur, Gin, Sweet vermouth, Chocolate bitters, Star anise
  • Stardust Cocktail — Reposado Tequila, Crème de Cacao, Absinthe, Heavy cream, Star anise, Cinnamon syrup
  • Falling Leaves — Riesling, Pear eau de vie, Orange Curaçao, Peychaud's Bitters, Star anise, Honey syrup
  • Smoked Anise — Vodka, Anisette, Whiskey, Star anise
  • Starfish & Coffee — Bourbon, Aperol, Coffee Pecan Bitters, Egg white, Star anise, Lemon juice, Blackberry preserves, Grade B maple syrup
  • Tempest — Spiced Rum, Ginger liqueur, Clove and mace tincture, Star anise, Lime juice, Egg white