Jewel of the Mediterranean

24 July, 2018

In that regard, Antica’s range has extended to include flavoured sambucas, and it’s not the only one. Luxardo’s Sambuca dei Cesari boasts as many as 11 flavours, ranging from spiced apple to cola, treating sambuca as a flavour platform, as vodka and (latterly) whisky have done. Certainly in the UK sambuca seems ineradicably associated with drinking shots, more so than with coffee after dinner, so flavour extensions seem logical.

But what of cocktails? Sambuca grew up in the dark days of mixology, between the end of Prohibition and the modern-day cocktail renaissance that started around 1990, so there aren’t any classic sambuca cocktails to fall back on. The only somewhat well-known sambuca cocktails are the Slippery Nipple (a layered shooter with Baileys) and the infamous Flaming Lamborghini, a very 1980s concoction that involves flames, sambuca, blue curaçao, Baileys, Kahlua and a diabetes diagnosis. Hardly drinks you’d find on the menu at one of the World’s 50 Best Bars, but that’s not to say all is lost for aniseed flavours. Maison Premiere in Brooklyn does a roaring trade in Absinthe Coladas, selling up to 130 a week, and if you can sell absinthe, you can sell sambuca. Encouragingly, World’s 50 Best Bars #16, Caffe Dante in New York’s Greenwich Village, offers a caffè corretto with sambuca. Perhaps all we need now is new conversation fodder for dinner?

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