Arise for anise

Join Molinari representative Francesco Superchi for a Sambuca sampling this Friday at Vino

A vintage Molinari poster advertising Sambuca Extra.

Sambuca is one of Italy’s most popular liqueurs, made from the anise plant’s aromatic seeds (aniseed). Though star anise seeds were highly regarded by herbalists in ancient Egypt, Babylon and China (the Italian name Sambuca derives from an Arab word), the modern Sambuca we know today was born in Civitavecchia, a busy port 60 miles north of Rome. Ships bearing goods from the ancient world would arrive in Civitavecchia, and by the 1800s the town’s citizens had become aware of the healing powers of anise.

Company founder Angelo Molinari (left) and Molinari's Civitavecchia headquarters in 1960 (right).

In the early 20th century, a young man named Angelo Molinari decided to create his own Sambuca. Molinari was in the business of perfumes and fortified wines, so was ideally prepared to turn his sensory talents to this aromatic liqueur. The success of Molinari’s Sambuca soon evolved into a modern business, allowing the drink to be produced and distributed on a large scale. Popular with the young crowd and traditionalists alike, today Molinari is the best-selling Sambuca in the world. No surprise that for generations of Italians “La Sambuca è solo Molinari,” or “Sambuca is Molinari.”

Modern trends have not diminished Molinari's popularity, and today nearly 9 million bottles are distributed worldwide per year.

This Friday afternoon join Molinari representative Francesco Superchi at Vino, for a unique tasting and insight into this historic brand and its renowned liqueurs. Francesco will be serving both Sambuca Extra and Sambuca al Caffè.

Sambuca Extra Molinari
The classic Sambuca is made using aniseed and a well-guarded secret formula of spices. Unlike other Sambuca producers, who use a variety of herbs to achieve a licorice taste, Molinari Sambuca still derives 95% of its flavor exclusively from anise seeds. In 1968 Molinari’s Sambuca was granted its “Extra” designation for “characteristics which distinguish Molinari from its competitors.” Today Sambuca is typically served at the end of a meal often with coffee, after Molinari himself noticed the drink’s licorice flavor complemented the bitter taste of espresso. Soon many Italians took to drinking Sambuca with their after-dinner coffee (some even add it to coffee in place of sugar). A Roman bartender had the idea of floating three roasted coffee beans “for extra luck” in each glass he served, a practice still common today.

Sambuca al Caffè Molinari
A favorite with coffee lovers the world over, Sambuca al Caffè obtains its rich color only from the most carefully selected Italian espresso beans, which are blended with precise quantities of Molinari Sambuca. The production process is overseen by Angelo Molinari, son of Molinari CEO Angelo Molinari and grandson of founder Angelo Molinari, who first created this drink in the 1950s.

FREE Molinari Sambuca Tasting
with Francesco Superchi
Friday, September 5

121 East 27th Street
New York, NY 10016

For more information call (212) 725-6516 or visit our website,


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