Sambuca has a long history, although as with all the best drinks its origins are disputed. Some say that Sambuca comes from the Arab word ‘Zammut’, which was the name of the anise-flavoured drink that arrived at the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome in Italy. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, however, the word derives from the Latin ‘Sambucas’, meaning elderberry.
Putting aside language questions, it’s certain that the first commercial version of Sambuca was produced in 1800 in Civitavecchia, when a local, Luigi Manzi, made a ‘Sambuca Manzi’. Then in 1945, after the Second World War, it became more widely known, and was popularised throughout Italy. Now Romana Sambuca forms part of the back shelf at any great bar, with the classic ‘con mosca’ serve in a glass with three coffee beans, each representing health, wealth and happiness. It’s often served for good luck, based on the fact that odd numbers are said to make for good fortune.
How to enjoy
Combining with water causes the liquid to change to a cloudy, milky white liquid. And you can add ice for a delicious long drink that can be served as an aperitif, or shared with friends. Look out too for Romana Black, a variation on Romana Sambuca with a dark coloured liquid, a richer variation of this delicious liqueur. Romana Sambuca is created using essential oils from anise, elderberries and sugar, plus the secret natural flavour formula, which makes it the ultimate Italian sambuca.
It’s easier to keep track of your drinks if you know how many full glasses you’re drinking.