Travel may be a little tricky these days, but you can still traverse the globe with these delicious drink recipes to try at home. 

Today's non-alcoholic drink hails from The Netherlands – Anijsmelk. 

What is it?

Steamy warmed milk infused with delicate, licorice-flavored anise showcases one of the Netherlands’ signature flavors and its staple beverage, all in one soothing cup. 


Anijsmelk may well be a natural evolution of anise tea. The Dutch East Indies Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC) was founded in 1602 and was once the largest spice trader in the world. The VOC imported Chinese star anise and Dutch women took to infusing their tea with this spice. Carrying the practice over to milk, a common drink thanks to the massive Dutch dairy industry, was clearly inevitable.

You'll need

8fl oz (240ml) full-fat milk (preferably unpasteurized) 
1 heaped tsp anise seeds (or two or three pods of star anise may be substituted) 
½ tsp sugar 


Step 1: Bring the milk to a slow boil in a saucepan. 
Step 2: Slightly crush the anise seeds with the back of a spoon and add them and the sugar to the milk. 
Step 3: Turn the heat down and let the milk simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. 
Step 4: Pour the milk into mug, straining through a fine sieve. 

Tasting notes

When you’re chilled by the North Sea winds after a canal skate or winter stroll through Amsterdam’s cobbled streets, the Dutch provide a mug of steaming Anijsmelk, often served with koek (spice cake) or olliebollen (doughnuts).

The warm drink, traditionally offered to children, will give you a true sense of gezelligheid, a uniquely Dutch word best translated as a homeliness. Anijsmelk’s citrus-laced licorice fragrance pulls your attention as it wafts through the froth. Each creamy, sweet sip warms your insides as the anise. 

For additional cocktail recipes, check out our Destination Drinks page 

This article was originally published in April 2020 and updated in December 2020.

This article was first published Apr 27, 2020 and updated Dec 4, 2020.

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