Sumbuca is one of Italy’s most elusive yet often-referenced alcoholic spirits that’s probably best known for being set alight and its aniseed taste. However, it’s hard to find a quality brand that truly exemplifies sambuca’s qualities.
Therefore, we will provide you with the top 10 best sambuca brands that you can easily buy in the USA:
- Molinari Sambuca Extra
- Luxardo Sambuca dei Cesari
- Meletti Anisetta & Sambuca
- Antica Sambuca
- Romana Sambuca
- Antica Black Sambuca
- Borghetti Sambuca
- Lazzaroni 1851 Sambuca
- Di Angela Sambuca
- Romana Black Sambuca
Scroll down to see them all or jump ahead using the links above. We will also cover where the best places are to buy sambuca.
See The Best Sambuca Cocktails
The Molinari family is one of the most significant sambuca producers in Italy and its distillery has been in operation since 1945. Besides star anise seed essential oil, Molinari’s secret family recipe features a variety of herbs and rare spices.
Its sweet and enduring nose is extended on the palate with full-flavoured yet balanced notes of anise. If you’re looking for a superior sambuca, Molinari is one of the best that you can buy.
"A richly flavoured and lavish sambuca, which can be easily enjoyed neat or with an espresso."
Founded in 1821, Luxardo became a prevalent distillery in the Dalmation region and is best known for perfecting maraschino cherry liqueur. Throughout its history, the original distillery has been caught in the crossfire of numerous conflicts and was even bombarded during the Second World War.
Nevertheless, the surviving family members persevered and rebuilt today’s distillery in Torreglia. Luxardo’s Sambuca Dei Cesari is a GMO-free, kosher-certified, and vegan friendly sambuca. It’s made using the family’s original recipe with carefully-surced ingredients.
Although Meletti produces regular sambuca, we’re particularly fond of its traditional anisette too. In 1870, Silvo Meletti starting making anisette from his mother’s small shop.
Today, it is one of the finest examples of anisette, which is still produced using aniseed locally sourced from Ascoli Piceno. If you’re looking for a drier alternative to sambuca, you should really give Meletti a try!
Based in Barbarano Mossano between Venice and Verona, Rossi d’Asiago is an award-winning historical distillery. It was founded in 1868 and today produces an exciting range of sambuca with different flavours.
Needless to say, we’re particularly fond of the classic, which is a natural liqueur made using traditional methods. Star anise is mong the 16 herbs and spices that are steeped and distilled before adding additional anise oil and sugar. Consequently, it’s a rich and smooth-flavoured sambuca.
Pallini is one of Rome’s oldest and most respected distilling families in Italy. Although it was founded in Antrodoco in 1875, it moved to Rome in the 1920s where its distillery continues to operate today.
Today, Pallini produces a variety of sambuca labels for different markets. However, we’re pretty fond of Romana. The family has been producing this label since 1992, which is relatively easy to find in the USA.
As mentioned above, Antica produces a variety of different sambuca flavours, which includes raspberry, apple, banana, and coffee. However, we’re particularly fond of their classic black liquorice sambuca. You’d be surprised by its violet black robe that the anise is still the literal star of the show. However, it endures and only allows hints of liquorice in the nose and finish.
Although the Fratelli Branca are best known for their vermouth and authentic aromatised wines in the Lombardy region, they have also dabbled in spirits. After years of intensive research, the brothers released their own variety of sambuca in 2001.
Operating under the name Borghetti, you may not realise that it’s a Branca product at first. Nevertheless, a single sip reveals their attention to detail and passion for quality drinking experiences.
Lazzaroni is probably best known for its amaretto that it has been producing since 1851. However, the family also produces a variety of other spirits including their classic sambuca, which is produced from a century’s old recipe.
In order to create their distinctive flavour, the alcohol is distilled from molasses. Meanwhile, the star anise essential oils are extracted through steam distillation and the botanicals include elderberries and fennel.
A very affordable sambuca, Di Angela’s creation is easily the cheapest on this list. Although we wouldn’t recommend it for drinking neat, it’s a great ingredient if you’re looking to craft a few cocktails on a budget.
Another Pallini family creation, the black Romana is the best-selling sambuca in the USA! It’s an original blend, which is created by infusing elder bush with liquorice, which is then sweetened and enhanced with a secret recipe of herbs and spices.
While its anise notes are certainly present, they’re not quite as strong as the Antica Black listed above. Instead, the elderberries and liquorice play a more prominent role.
Where To Buy Sambuca In The USA?
Although sambuca is an iconic drink that is well-known for being set alight, it’s a surprisingly elusive alcoholic spirit. Indeed, authentic Italian sambuca can be hard to find in the USA.
Usually, it’s available in traditional Italian restaurants and cafés to accompany your espresso. Occasionally, it can be found in cocktails. Meanwhile, only a few liquor stores tend to readily stock it and even fewer will present you with several buying options.
Reserve Bar is one of our favourite online liquor retailers and even it doesn’t sell any sambuca!
Fortunately, sambuca can be easily found and purchased through Drizly, which sells all of the brands that we recommended above. As Drizly works with local liquor stores, it has an impressively large selection of drinks.
However, the only downside is that its stocks are wholly dependant on what is locally available. Therefore, you’ll have to punch in your zip code to filter out what you won’t be able to buy.
Nevertheless, Drizly does provide you with an opportunity for liquor being delivered to your door within an hour! After all, it’s all sold locally and Drizly is essentially a middleman.
How Much Does Sambuca Cost?
Given that sambuca is a relatively basic alcoholic spirit to produce, it’s actually quite cheap. Typically, a 75 cl bottle will set you back somewhere between $25 and $30.
In fact, it’s very rare that sambuca is ever sold for over $30. However, this depends on your local taxation laws.
Now that you have read about the best sambuca brands, why don’t you check out more of our resources?