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The most ordinary kind of sambuca is called white sambuca, this is colorless and the name is made to distinguish it from its deep blue, black sambuca, and red, red sambuca, counterparts. It is described as an anise-flavored Italian-made liqueur. The main ingredient of sambuca is the essential oil of star anise, a spice originated from China which has a close resemblance to anise in flavor, these oils are then added to pure alcohol, a concentrated solution of sugar, and other flavoring.
The most common alcohol by volume level of sambuca is 42%. The name of Sambuca is claimed to be derived from the Arabic word Zammut, which was the name of an anise-flavored drink that came by ships to the port of Civitavecchia by ships from the East. It is also claimed that the name comes from the Latin word sambūc-us, meaning "elderberry".
There are several ways for sambuca to be served, neat, on the rocks, in coffee and so on, but the most interesting ways of presenting it follows:
1. Flaming Sambuca – Served in a shot glass and then set to fire for no more than two seconds and then drunk, the reason for this is to bring out more of the flavor of the sambuca. Another alternative to this is to serve a small amount of sambuca in a large glass and then light up the sambuca for around three seconds, when the drink has been drunk the glass is turned upside down and the fumes from the fire can then be enjoyed through a straw.
2. Stature of Liberty – Hold the shot glass of sambuca in your left hand and dip your thumb into the sambuca with your right hand, with a friend setting the thumb on fire, the shot should then be drunk before extinguishing the flame by popping the right thumb into your mouth.
3. Flaming Lamborghini – Pour Sambuca and Kahlua into a cocktail glass and baileys and blue curacao in individual shot glasses on either side of the cocktail glass, light the mixture in the cocktail glass and drink it in one through a straw before pouring the baileys and blue curacao into the glass.