Q. I'm trying to settle a small debate. I believe that Pernod is typically a digestif, while a friend of mine insists that, no, it is in fact an apéritif. Which is it?
Ok, you appear to have settled into the get-a-life phase of your existence, but would it be a wake-up call to you and your sorry friend to learn that Pernod is not primarily an apéritif nor primarily a digestif? Stuart Walton, writing in The New Guide to Spirits & Liqueurs (Canada, UK), says that the family of drinks known as pastis to which Pernod belongs is drunk for its thirst-quenching ability from southern France to the Greek islands almost as beer is drunk in the north? He says it is "an in-between-times drink rather than just an apéritif; it's a drink for a lazy afternoon watching boules being played in the village square."
So your friend appears to have scored a slight advantage over you in the rollicking apéritif/digestif debate, but you can actually make a strong argument for Pernod serving as a digestif, as well. Aniseed, the flavoring agent in Pernod, has been considered an aid to digestion at least since the days of ancient Egypt.
Although Pernod and other pastis beverages are many times more alcoholic than even the strongest beer, they are usually cut with water, which has the interesting effect of turning two clear liquids cloudy.