Ricard is a brand of pastis invented in 1932 by Paul Ricard, the son of a Marseille wine merchant. He blended alcohol macerations of local herbs and spices along with fennel seeds, star anise and licorice, and ultimately produced a pale yellow liqueur with a strong anise flavor, but also the taste of garrigue - the wild herbs (including thyme, bay, rosemary, savory and marjoram) that grow in the south of France. Originally, Ricard was meant to be reduced with five parts of cool water to every part of the liqueur, then poured over ice to make a refreshing long drink.
During World War II, the Vichy government banned the production of pastis. Production of Ricard started up again in 1944, and quickly regained its popularity. In 1984, Ricard celebrated its billionth bottle sold.
Ricard is blended from distillate extracts of primarily star anise and licorice, which are distilled when they're harvested. The resulting essences are blended and have water and alcohol added to them, then are distilled in a rectifying column to produce an aromatic alcohol base.
Ricard is a pale yellow color, with strong aromas of star anise and the earthy sweetness of licorice. It louches (turns milky) in water, and is fairly sweet pre-dilution. Ricard is bottled at 90 proof.