Sambuca Alcohol Content – Calories Per 1.5 Oz. Shot & Proof

Anise-flavored liqueur from Italian production is preferably enjoyed “con la Mosca – with fly”. But what are the Sambuca alcohol content and calorie output as a digestif?

This article will describe the Sambuca proof, alcohol content and calories per serving, and how to serve the liqueur. Moreover, we will explore the medicinal benefits of this anise liqueur, and what black Sambuca is made from. Finally, we will compare the digestif with other digestifs for example by describing the Grappa alcohol content and aperitifs.

Let’s use the experience we gained from running Hopsters Brewing Company for over ten years to describe the Sambuca anise-flavored liqueur. In our other article, we described the Campari Alcohol Content in addition to Vermouth Alcohol Content for your comparison. Let’s dive in!

What is the Sambuca alcohol content, calories, serving and taste?

What is the Sambuca alcohol content?

Sambuca is a colorless liqueur with 38% alcohol content by volume (76 proof) that is made from anise whose origin is in Italy. Black sambuca may contain up to 42% ABV (84 proof). The liquor not only does it contain a high alcohol content but also contains a high sugar content (350 g/litre).

Due to its high alcohol content a shot (1.5 oz.) will give you 0.57 ounces of alcohol which is almost similar to vodka, whiskey, rum, or gin among other distilled liquor. Therefore, for an average adult, it will take three to four Sambuca shots (1.5 oz) to get intoxicated.

The liqueur contains distillates of green anise and star anise to make a bold but tastefully sweetened flavor whereas Black Sambuca is infused with elder bush, anise, and liquorice. In sambuca, anethole (anise aroma) content requirements are also checked and carefully regulated.

Most people confuse sambuca and anisette. Even though both are spirits that seem interchangeable, they differ during production and regulation. Anisette is not regulated by the European Union, unlike Sambuca.

Different Sambuca Brands Alcohol Content

You may find a few brands of Sambuca with a range of alcohol content. Most of them are produced in Italy, but you will find some brands that are produced in South Africa and the United States among other Countries. The Sambuca brands include the following:

Sambuca BrandABV (%)ProofOrigin
Antica Black Sambuca38% ABV76 proofVicenza, Italy
Averna Sambuca Liqueur42% ABV84 proofSicily, Italy
Borghetti Sambuca38% ABV76 proofLombardy, Italy
Brothers Green Sambuca40% ABV80 proofSouth Africa
Castello Mia Sambuca Liqueur38% ABV76 proofItaly
Di Angela Sambuca42% ABV84 proofRome, Italy
Galliano Black Sambuca30% ABV60 proofItaly
Lazzaroni Blue Label Sambuca38% ABV76 proofLombardy, Italy
Llord’s Sambuca Liqueur40% ABV80 proofNew Jersey, U.S.
Luxardo Sambuca38% ABV76 proofPadua, Italy
Meletti Sambuca42% ABV84 proofAscoli Piceno, Italy
Molinari Sambuca Extra40% ABV80 proofRome, Italy
Paolucci White Sambuca Liqueur42% ABV84 proofItaly
Poli Elisir Sambuca38% ABV76 proofVicenza, Italy
Ramazzotti Sambuca 38% ABV76 proofAsti, Italy
Romana Sambuca42% ABV84 proofRome, Italy
Sambuca Vaccari 38% ABV76 proofItaly
Zappa Sambuca Blue35% ABV70 proofSouth Africa

As seen the alcohol content in the Sambuca Brands vary but most of them have an alcohol content of between 38% ABV to 42% ABV (76 proof to 84 proof). However, a few outliers such as Zappa Sambuca Blue from South Africa has 35% alcohol content by volume (70 proof).

As mentioned, the liqueur is a distillate of star anise or green anise meaning anise is the main ingredient. However, to make it taste as good as it does, distilleries ensure that Sambuca meets the minimum alcohol content of 38% ABV, 350 grams per liter of sugar, and anethole (anise aroma) content requirements.

The natural anethole content in a Sambuca ranges between 1g and 2g per liter. Therefore, Antica Black Sambuca is rich in anethole oil and typically sweet in taste.

Antica Black Sambuca alcohol content

Like all the other Sambuca described above, Antica Black Sambuca is produced using the flavors traditional recipe that utilizes premium Star Anise. Therefore, the liqueur has Star Anise blended with exceptionally smooth neutral spirit, water, and the recommended amount of sugar.

The distinctive purple/black colored Antica Black Sambuca which has a sweet and smooth mix taste that gives rise to strong notes of liquorice aniseed and black pepper flavor has an alcohol content of 38% by volume (76 proof). A serving of Antica Sambuca will give you 210 calories from the sugar, alcohol content, and protein content but none of the calories are from fat.

Therefore, this variant of the Classic Sambuca has the most character. The liqueur production process starts from an infusion of Calabrian liquorice. Afterward, the liquor is flavored to give you the aroma of anise and digestive spicy hints of liquorice. Due to all this, Antica Sambuca is best served straight up as a shot.

Averna Sambuca Liqueur alcohol content

Sambuca as described above is a sweetened anise-flavored liqueur whose origin is in Italy. Like all the other Sambuca Averrna will give you a striking fragrance and body, in addition to the fullness of flavor and freshness on the palate making it extremely pleasant to enjoy at any moment of the day.

The Averna Sambuca Liqueur alcohol content from Sicily Italy is 42% ABV (84 proof). It contains star anise that is all sourced from Sicily Italy.

Therefore, because of the pleasant taste, high alcohol content, and sugar content, you can drink it straight or as part of mixed drinks.

Brothers Green Sambuca alcohol content

Brothers Green Sambuca is a South African liqueur with 40% alcohol content (80 proof) by volume that contains distillates of green anise and star anise.

The liqueur has Pale straw color with a bouquet. Its taste is green apples and flowers. The brew is produced similarly to other Sambuca brands in the traditional recipe flavors.

Galliano Black Sambuca alcohol content

Galliano Black Sambuca alcohol content is the lowest among the Sambuca brands. The dark aniseed-flavored liqueur from Italy contains 30% alcohol content by volume which is 60 proof.

You can easily note the taste and presentation of this liqueur. The Galliano Black Sambuca has a distinctive tapered bottle and intense anise flavor. The famous tall bottle gives memories of a Roman column.

The color for this liqueur comes from blending the original recipe with elderberries, thus turning the Sambuca liqueur a deep blue almost inky black shade. You will definitely love the balanced aniseed taste that yields a deep spicy berry finish.

Sambuca taste

Sambuca is a clear Italian liqueur that has been flavored with essential oils from star anise or green anise. The different ingredients yield an unmistakable character of licorice taste with hints of anise or elderflower mixed which is reminiscent of the Mediterranean.

Some people give the liqueur a combination of coffee and licorice taste which is sweet with a mellow finish. However, the black Sambuca has more licorice flavor and hints of fruitiness.

Sambuca flavor is always considered to be smoother or less harsh as compared to the taste of whiskey or vodka. However, some people find it too intense to take straight as shots.

White Rumba on the other hand is primarily anise-flavored. This gives it light notes of vanilla or honey added on top of the other ingredients.

How Much Does Sambuca Cost?

Sambuca is a relatively basic liqueur to produce. Therefore, it is relatively cheap on the online market and in liquor stores globally.

Most of the Sambuca brands cost between $25 and $50 per 750ml (75 cl bottle). The cost is only inflated by the local taxes in your country and State.

The price is quite good for an unforgettable Italian liqueur with a mélange of spices and herbs and a sweet, bold flavor that complements the high alcohol content.

Sambuca Cocktails

How to serve Sambuca

As discussed Sambuca is colorless, the anise-flavored liqueur is served neat or with water, or sometimes as a shot with three toasted coffee beans in the glass. The coffee beans are chewed when you get them in the drink. You can make the following cocktail drinks with Sambuca among others:

  • Sambuca Sazerac- made by mixing sambuca, whiskey, and bitters to make. The drink is served with ice.
  • Sambuca con la Mosca: This is the most basic Italian tradition of taking sambuca where three toasted coffee beans are added to shots of sambuca in a glass.
  • Spicy cocktail: Made using cinnamon liqueur, sambuca, and vodka.
  • Raspberry-Basil Sambuca Martini: This is a more complex cocktail to make that is made using raspberries, plus extra for garnish, basil leaves, freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, sambuca, London dry gin, and ice. The ingredients are shaken well in a cocktail shaker and strained in a martini glass.
  • Sambuca with Sparkling wine: This drink is made by adding sparkling wine to sambuca, lemon juice, and simple syrup. The final drink is served with ice
  • Sambuca Citrus Martini: Made with a lemon wedge, Superfine sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sambuca, citrus vodka, such as Absolut citron, ice, and lemon twist for garnish. This drink is served in a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Sambuca Vesper: This cocktail is made using London dry gin, vodka, sambuca, ice, and lemon peel for garnish. The drink is served in a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Sambuca and soda: The drink is easy to make using club soda, crushed ice, sambuca, and a lemon wedge. You will love the drink if you are an anise purist. This drink is served using a Collins glass.
  • Sambuca Lemonade: Sambuca Lemonade is made using crushed ice, sambuca, lemonade, lemon slices, and mint sprigs for garnish (optional). Note that this cocktail is served in a tall glass.

Other cocktails that you can make with Sambuca include:

  1. Sambuca Mule: The during gives you excellent flavor and aroma of ginger and anise since it is made with lime juice, sambuca, vodka, ginger beer, ice, and lime slice for garnish. This is made using a cocktail shaker and strained into a mule cup or rocks glass.
  2. South of the Border BB Gun: This tasty alternative to the traditional margarita is made with sambuca, lime cordial, and tequila in a zesty and refreshing drink. The drink is served with chips and salsa.


We have gone through the alcohol content of Sambuca by volume where the alcohol content is 38% by volume even though the range is 35% to 42% ABV depending on the brand.

We have also given you the taste profile, different cocktails, and calories in sambuca to help you decide on how to take this liqueur without becoming unhealthy.