Italian drinks

Sambuca - famous Italian liquor

Anyone who has ever been to a cafe or bar at least once in his life probably knows about Sambuca. This is the famous Italian liquor, infused with anise, which gives the drink a strong aroma. She has no equal among alcohol in the number of tasting methods. The picture is overshadowed only by the fact that due to the wide popularity of sambuca, some dishonest manufacturers sell, at best, liquors based on it. In order not to fall for marketing tricks, you need to know the maximum about a well-known drink. And we kindly present this maximum to you.


The history of sambuca has more than 100 years. It was first released at the end of the 19th century in the town of Civitavecchia from the hands of Luigi Manzi, and then it was transferred to Angelo Molinari, who brought its production to the world level.
The first liquor recipe was developed in 1851.

Luigi Manzi described his product like this: "thin aniseed vodka that is good for the stomach after eating."

There are many legends around the drink. One of them says that the Manzi distillery was located near the temple, where Luigi made a hole in the floor and hid the smuggling of alcohol. This helped him produce large volumes of liquor at reasonable prices. Hence, there is an opinion that the term "sambuca" comes from the phrase "santa buca", which means "sacred hole."

Another version attributes the connection between the name of the drink and the elderberry plant (Sambúcus), which is one of the ingredients of the liquor. Some researchers believe this is unlikely. They operate on the fact that once medicine used elderberry wine as an emollient and diuretic, but it had nothing to do with the liquor, either for taste or aroma.

The third and least likely theory is that sambuca came to Italy from the East. The Arabs prepared the drink "zammut" with the taste of anise. The consonance of the names contributed to the emergence of such an opinion.

In the period before the Second World War, sambuca was sold only in certain regions of Italy. After 1945, Angelo Molinari was entrusted with the production of liquor. The new owner of the name has expanded the boundaries of the beverage market. To this day, "Sambuca Molinari" occupies one of the leading places among manufacturers of strong digestif with anise flavor.

What is this drink

Sambuca is a sweet anise-spicy, usually colorless liquor. The original recipe for the drink involves the use of alcohol, spring water, soluble sugars, various extracts from anise and other herbs.

The basis of sambuca is composed of essential oils obtained by distillation of star anise and fennel. These ingredients give the liquor a strong aniseed smell. Some types of sambuca contain extracts of elderberry, peppermint, thyme, gentian and other extracts.

It is known that some aromatic substances are prepared by distillation, others by maceration (soaking in alcohol), but the exact recipe and amount of ingredients are kept secret by manufacturers.

The classic version of the drink is colorless. It is called the "white sambuca." Not so long ago, two more varieties of liquor appeared: black (black sambuca) and red (red sambuca).

The black version is characterized by the presence of extracts of licorice and licorice and a greater density. Its color is ink violet. The sugar content in it is greater in order to "mask" a high degree, since there is about 42% alcohol in the liquor.

Red sambuca is a combination of a classic drink with extracts of berries and fruits. A small number of factories produce it, so this version is quite rare and stands out among its brethren at a high price.

On the basis of anise, there are many alcoholic beverages in different countries. For example, in France and Switzerland you will find Absinthe, in Turkey - Crayfish, in Greece - Ouzo.

Top brands

In accordance with European Union regulation 110-2008, a drink named "Sambuca" must meet a specific set of characteristics. On the European market, especially in the UK, about 9 million bottles of Sambuca liquor are sold annually, which do not meet the requirements and are contrary to the law.

Here is a list of the best drinks from different manufacturers.


Sambuca Antica (Sambuca Antica) - a classic transparent liquor from the company of the same name. The taste is harmonious, sweet, complemented by a slight acidity. It has a rich anise flavor. The drink contains coriander, rose, iris, orange and various herbs. The alcohol content is 38%.


Sambuca Borghetti is a colorless drink with a mild aniseed flavor manufactured by Branca Distillerie. It has an intense aroma of anise and magnolia. The sugar content is about 30 g / l, alcohol - 38%.


Sambuca Colazingari (Sambuca Colazingari) - one of the oldest drinks company Colasingari. Sweet and, at the same time, dry liquor with a strong but delicate aroma of anise. The alcohol content is 40%.


Sambuca Luxardo (Sambuca Luxardo) - strong liquor from the famous Italian company Luxardo, founded in 1821. The liquor is crystal clear with a strong, harmonious taste and a long anise finish. The alcohol content is 38%.


Sambuca Isolabella (Sambuca Isolabella) - the brainchild of the company Ilva Saronno (Illva Saronno). Colorless liquor with a pleasant velvety taste. It has a rich aroma with notes of anise, star anise and elderberry. The alcohol content is 40%.


Sambuca Manzi is an original drink, the taste of which is more than 165 years old. The liquor is transparent, not too sweet with a pleasant aniseed smell. The alcohol content is 42%.

Molinari extra

Sambuca Molinari Extra is a drink whose production covers 70% of the sales of aniseed liquor in Italy. It is colorless with a sweet taste, aroma of anise and Italian herbs. The alcohol content is 42%.


Sambuca Ramazzotti (Sambuca Ramazzotti) - a strong drink from the company Pernod Ricard (Pernod Ricard). Colorless liquor with a slightly bitter taste, complemented by notes of oranges. The alcohol content is 38%.

Vecchia sarandrea

Sambuca Vecchia Sarandrea (Sambuca Vecchia Sarandrea) - a transparent drink from the manufacturer Sarandrea Marco & C. Liquor based on a distillate of elderberry flowers and infusions of various types of anise. It has a smooth taste and a rich, fragrant aroma. Vecchia translates to “old,” which indicates the age of the recipe, not the drink. The alcohol content is 42%.


Sambuca Stella de Italy (Sambuca Stella d'Italia) - liquor produced by the company Toschi (Toschi). A colorless drink with a soft, slightly sweet taste and a long finish. The aroma contains notes of anise and herbs. The alcohol content is 40%.

Of course, the list of companies producing high-quality sambuca can be continued. Here we presented drinks that can be found on domestic shelves. Buying a sambuca of the given brands, you will never be mistaken in a choice.

How to drink

In Italy, sambuca is often drunk on its own as a digestif after dinner, after being chilled. But this is not the only way to use it. Frankly, sometimes some methods of drinking sambuca do not fit into the head.

  1. Italians traditionally serve sambuca with 3 coffee beans, symbolizing the desire for wealth, health and happiness. This method is called "con mosca" and literally means "with flies" (due to visual similarity). Coffee unmatched complements the taste of a drink chilled to 6-8 degrees. In addition, sambuca is added to espresso in a ratio of 1: 4. In this case, the liquor acts as an invigorating component, replacing sugar.
  2. One of the Flambe options involves setting fire to liquor, poured into a glass to the brim. The flame is extinguished by covering with a palm, then the hand is slightly shaken off and sambuca is drunk in one gulp.
  3. In post-Soviet countries, the use of burning sambuca is already considered one of the forms of art. So, drinking from 2 glasses looks especially striking. In one sambuca they set fire and rotate on another for about a minute. Then pour the liquor, while the first glass is placed on a saucer with a napkin into which the tube is inserted. They drink sambuca, after which they inhale the vapors of the drink through a tube and chew coffee beans.
  4. It's hard to believe, but in the most unusual case, the liquor is set on fire directly in the client’s mouth. This procedure requires not only the masculinity of the taster himself, but also the professionalism of the bartender and the permission of the administration of the institution.
  5. Another amazing but soft option is drink sambuca with cold milk.


You can not pass by such a common method of "recycling" a drink as making cocktails. Sambuca is used as an original component or it is replaced by tougher alcohol in recipes (rum, vodka).

Among the thousands of options for cocktails with sambuca can be identified:

  • Hiroshima is the most famous sambuca cocktail. It is similar to a nuclear explosion, not only externally, but also in the effect that it has on the body due to its high degree. It consists of: Sambuca - 1 part, Absinthe - 1 part, Beilis - 1 part, pomegranate syrup - ¼ part. The first is a layer of syrup, then sambuca, beilis, completes the composition of absinthe.
  • A brain tumor is a cocktail born in America with the light hand of a bored bartender who mixed all the drinks left after a hard day. It contains: peach liquor or Martini bianco - 2 parts, Beilis - 1 part, Grenadine syrup - 1 ½ part, Sambuca - 1 part. The components are poured into a glass in the order listed.
  • Liquid nitrogen is a fairly light cocktail with a creamy taste. It contains: Sambuca - 40 ml, coconut milk - 30 ml, ice cream - 50 g. Melt the ice cream, pour it into a shaker along with sambuca and coconut milk. The contents are mixed well and sent to the refrigerator for 20 minutes in a high glass.
  • Cocoon - the option of drinking sambuca with carbonated drinks. It contains: Sambuca - 1 part, Coca-Cola - 3 parts, lemon juice - ½ parts. All components are poured into a glass with ice and mixed. Drink such a cocktail through a straw.

No matter how attractive the methods of using sambuca, it is worth remembering that this is a fairly strong drink. The European Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends drinking no more than 30 ml of alcohol per day. In addition, the liquor contains sugar and requires careful use by people with diabetes.

Homemade recipe

The recipe for sambuca at home is quite simple. But, it should be noted that the home version most likely falls under the name "Anise Liqueur", since the exact recipe is not known to anyone but the manufacturers. To prepare 1 liter of drink you need only 15 minutes of time and 2 months of waiting.

Essential Ingredients:

  • 500 ml of ethyl alcohol with a strength of 95 degrees;
  • 500 ml of water;
  • 300 g of sugar;
  • 40 g of anise;
  • Cinnamon stick;
  • 3 pcs. cloves;
  • Zest of half a lemon.

Pour alcohol into a glass container with a sealed lid and add anise, cinnamon, cloves and lemon zest. Tightly close and leave to insist for 30 days in a place protected from light and heat. Shake the contents periodically.

After the time has passed, filter the infusion through cheesecloth and prepare the syrup. To do this, in a saucepan, mix sugar with water and heat for about 5 minutes over high heat until completely dissolved. We do not bring to a boil. The cooled sugar solution is mixed with tincture, poured into bottles and wait another 30 days for a more saturated taste. Aniseed liquor called Homemade Sambuca is ready to drink.


It is possible to buy sambuca in Italy at a price of 9 to 40 Euros per 1 liter of drink. Moreover, the price depends on both the manufacturer and the seller.

In the vastness of Russia, the cost of buying an Italian aniseed liquor will be from 1300 to 3000 rubles per 1 liter.

At the peak of information about sambuca, our review is complete. Live soundly, love to pain, travel soberly and remember: "Sambuca carcasses before the fire and send it to your mouth for a blow!"

Watch the video: Irish People Try Italian Alcohol (January 2020).


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