The Life of an Anise-Flavored Alcoholic Beverage: Does Its Stability Cloud or Confirm Theory?

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The well-known alcoholic beverage Pastis becomes turbid when mixed with water due to the poor solubility of trans-anethol, the anise-flavored component of Pastis in the water solution formed. This destabilization appears as the formation of micrometer-sized droplets that only very slowly grow in size, thus expanding the life of the anise-flavored beverage. The slow growth has been attributed to an extremely low interfacial tension of the droplets. Fitting experimental droplet growth rates to an Ostwald ripening model, interfacial tensions were deduced in the past. Direct determination of the interfacial tensions was not yet reported on these systems. We have measured the interfacial tensions and used these data to predict droplet growth rates using an Ostwald ripening model and a model for creaming of the droplets. The interfacial tension was measured to be about 11 mN/m for a 30/70 w/w % ethanol/water mixture, and it decreases slightly to a value of 1.4 mN/m in the case of a 70/30 w/w % ethanol/water mixture. These values are not as low as those deduced in the past. The theoretical predictions for both the Ostwald ripening rates and the creaming rates, using the directly measured interfacial tensions, are found to contradict with the experimental results on Ostwald ripening and creaming. While the experiments on Ostwald ripening show an increase in stability with increasing ethanol concentration, the results based on our interfacial tension measurements in combination with the same Ostwald ripening model show a decrease in stability with an increase in ethanol concentration. Further research is needed to understand fully which parameters play a role in both droplet growth and the stability of these three-component emulsions to elucidate the current discrepancy between model and experiment. This could be useful for a better control of "spontaneous emulsification" processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1701-1706
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • spontaneous emulsification
  • scattering
  • emulsions
  • mixtures

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