Blackstar – Modern Cocktail

“What are we supposed to do with the vodka?” we often ask each other, brows furrowed. Until this cocktail, our Grey Goose was mostly stored in the freezer – largely forgotten – except once as a disinfectant in a crisis.

We were introduced to the Blackstar at our next-door hotel bar Villon in San Francisco, which has a curated cocktail list of 49 cocktails (San Francisco is approximately 7 x 7 miles wide and the cocktail list is split into 7 sections of 7 cocktails each). The Blackstar caught our eyes one night: not only did it have vodka, but it also had Sambuca (anise liqueur frankly is not our jam) but also… grapefruit? If it wasn’t made by Jim Meehan, we would have skipped it.

But we had it – and then we immediately bought some grapefruits and made it again the next night at home using the recipe from The Savage & The Sage. For some reason, all the disparate flavors work. It’s bright, not overwhelmingly licorice, and the vodka is a good base spirit because all of the other flavors are so powerful. It’s a wonderful cocktail – and one of those unexpected modern delights.

Cocktail with star anise garnish
The Blackstar cocktail


  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Lime Juice
  • 0.75 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 0.25 oz Sambuca (anise liqueur)
  • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 Star Anise Pod (Optional)


Cocktail Glass


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and stir until well chilled, roughly 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass
  • For garnish, float an anise pod

2 thoughts on “Blackstar – Modern Cocktail

  • 2019-10-10 at 2:10 pm

    I just bought “spirit of pear”. what do I mix it with

    • 2019-12-14 at 1:09 pm

      Great in a Manhattan. 1.5 oz rye whiskey, .75 oz pear liqueur, .75 oz cardamaro (you can substitute with Campari if you have some of that).


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