Black licorice is a polarizing flavor among candy enthusiasts.
Some people love the distinct taste, while others can’t stand it.
While black licorice is a common flavor in candies, it is also used in other products like tea, alcoholic drinks, and even medicine.
In this article, we will explore what makes up black licorice’s unique taste and whether it’s worth trying.
What is Black Licorice?
Black licorice is a type of candy flavored with licorice root extract. Licorice root, scientifically known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a plant native to Europe and Asia.
It has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine and is said to have several health benefits.
Licorice root extract is the key ingredient used to flavor black licorice.
The extract has a naturally sweet taste, resembling anise, fennel, and star anise. However, compared to these herbs, licorice root extract has a distinct flavor that can’t be mimicked. This is why black licorice has such a unique taste.
What Does Black Licorice Taste Like?
At first taste, black licorice is sweet, followed by a strong and slightly bitter anise-punch. Anise is a herbaceous plant with a flavor similar to fennel and star anise. It has a sweet yet sharp taste with a slight hint of spiciness.
To some people, black licorice can be overpowering, especially those who are not used to its strong flavor. Licorice’s bitter notes can be an acquired taste, and many people either love it or hate it.
The aftertaste is one of the most prominent features of black licorice. It leaves a lingering taste in your mouth, and the flavor evolves even more in intensity and complexity. Its aftertaste is typically described as woody, medicinal, or even earthy. This is due to an essential oil component called anethole that gives licorice its particular taste and aroma.
In conclusion, black licorice’s taste is unique, and for those who enjoy its unusual flavor, the aftertaste is one of the reasons why they love it.
How is Black Licorice Made?
Black licorice is made by combining licorice root extract with other ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, anise oil, and flour. These ingredients are mixed together with an emulsifier to create a smooth and uniform texture.
Some manufacturers add additional ingredients to enhance the flavor or color of their black licorice. For instance, molasses or caramel can be added to darken the candy’s color, and salmiak salt can be added to enhance the saltiness.
The texture of black licorice is chewy and dense, much like traditional gummy candies. It has a satisfying texture that appeals to many people.
Health Benefits of Black Licorice
Licorice root extract has several health benefits that have been acknowledged by traditional medicine. These benefits of black licorice are the reason why it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. However, it’s worth noting that these benefits have not been extensively studied, and you shouldn’t solely rely on black licorice for any health issues without consulting a healthcare professional.
Black licorice can aid digestion, reduce inflammation, soothe sore throats, and even fight off viruses and bacteria. It’s also thought to have a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, as it may help expel mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract.
However, black licorice is not a cure-all and should be consumed in moderation. In large amounts, it can have adverse side effects, especially for people with pre-existing health conditions.
How to Enjoy Black Licorice?
If you’re interested in trying black licorice, there are several ways to enjoy it. Here are a few options:
- Eat it plain – Eating black licorice as it is will give you the full experience of the flavor. You can buy black licorice candies or sticks, but be sure to start with small quantities to get used to the flavor.
- Pair it with tea – Black licorice’s anise notes go well with certain teas. You can pair it with chai tea, or even better, try a licorice tea. Licorice tea is simply licorice root brewed in hot water, which provides a less intense version of the flavor.
- Use it in cooking – Licorice root extract can be used as a flavoring agent in cooking. It pairs well with fish, fennel, and even desserts like ice cream.
- Mix it in cocktails – Black licorice flavor is commonly used in alcoholic drinks. It can be added to vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey to add a unique flavor to the drink.
Black licorice has a unique flavor that is not for everyone. Its anise and woody notes give it a taste that can be overpowering to some. However, for those who enjoy its strong taste, black licorice can be a satisfying and indulgent experience. It is worth considering that black licorice has a few health benefits, but it should be enjoyed in moderation. Whether you’re a fan or not, black licorice remains one of the most polarizing flavors in the world of candies.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.