Saturday, April 2, 2011

Drinks Around the World: Anijsmelk (Netherlands)

Wandering around the Netherlands for a while and it is obvious they have a love of licorice (especially salted licorice - an acquired taste indeed). As a parallel, a popular drink is anijsmelk (literally anise milk) which is simply made by adding a couple of anise sugar cubes and a dash of honey into a glass of warm milk.

Although having an aroma a little like fennel or Turkish raki, the flavour is far more delicate, mild, slightly spicy and fragrant and certainly not an over-powering licorice taste.

Originally made by crushing aniseed into milk, the Dutch believe it is ideal before bedtime (especially when the weather is cold as the advertisement indicates) aiding sleep and helping digest any large dinners. With the cubes being tiny, the small packets of anijsbokjes can be bought on the web.
At the start of each month, Travel Wonders highlights a characteristic drink experienced on his travels. Other offerings from western Europe include Spanish Horchata, Bibicaffe from Italy, Sour Cherry Beer or Kriek from Belgium and French vin chaud.


Abhijit said...

Very interesting.. I had never heard of it before! Would love to try it out when I visit Holland!

Mark H said...

@abhijit:A Dutch friend suggested it to me or I doubt I'd have found it either. It didn't seem to be sold in the cafes but more a home speciality.

traveling said...

This is a curious item, but as much as I love to sample local libations, I'd totally check this one out! Thanks for sharing, Mark.

Mark H said...

@travelling: I also love to check out the local drinks. While some disappoint, you can stumble across some superb and novel drinks.

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

Sounds really yummy. I wonder if you can get those anise/sugar cubes in the U.S.? Licorice is touted as a help to digestion, but I recently learned that it interferes with anti-anxiety medications. Of course, if you're in Holland, sipping warm milk, what do you have to be anxious about?

Mark H said...

@vera: I've never seen them in Australia but there are a fair few online stores. Another blog I found in a search highlights the following online sites: Dutch Sweets, Euro-Pacific Imports, Holland's Best, and

Just check the shipping costs first but they shouldn't be too bad as the packages are small.

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