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sambuca

Type

Liqueurs, herbal or spice-flavored

Description

Generic for a very sweet-yet-piquant clear Italian liqueur flavored with anise, licorice root and an infusion with elderberry in a neutral spirit base. Sambucca is similar to Anisette but with a higher alcohol content. The term Sambuca usually refers to the transparent version, although other versions exist such as black sambuca. The liqueur is prepared by the steam distillation of star aniseeds. The resulting fragrant essential oil is infused with neutral spirits, witch elder berries and licorice. Other natural flavors and sweetening are added. The origin of the name Sambuca is believed to be Arabian, likely an Italian version of Zammut, - the anise-based drink that first came to the Italian harbors on ships coming from the Far East centuries ago. Residents of Civitavecchia, a port city near Rome, already produced the anise-based liqueur and perhaps renamed it "Sambuca" for trading convenience; Civitavecchians still produce it in large quantities today. While popular in mixed drinks, the common and traditional manner of comsumption is straight, with coffee beans -- two or more depending on the locale. There are a number of respected sambuca brands on the Italian market. These include Sambuca Borghetti and Sambuca Ramazzotti. With 87% global market share, Sambuca Molinari is the overall market leader, though Sambuca Romano is the most popular in the United States.

Flavor

licorice and elderberry

Availability

Generally available. Produced and sold in Italy. Available for on-line ordering in some markets.

Substitute

other anis-flavored liqueur

Usage examples

This ingredient appears in 5 recipes in CocktailDB.
pictureCafe Diable
pictureGenoa Cocktail
pictureMatinee Cocktail
pictureSambuca Coffee Frappe
pictureVia Veneto Cocktail

Museum of the American Cocktail
Tales of the Cocktail 2006
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