IWSR Magazine April 2013
We started our series with sambuca’s key ingredient, anise. We now look further into sambuca’s raw materials.
The high quality of Antica Sambuca is determined by the combination of outstanding ingredients and production techniques that follow meticulous artisanal processes.
The alcohol of course plays a key role. It is a colourless, flavourless distillate made from fermented natural sugars. The alcohol used in Antica Sambuca is obtained from the distillation of sugar beet molasses. No less important is the water, which not only allows the spirit’s alcohol content to be adjusted, but in a solution with alcohol, it also extracts the aromatic substances from the infusions of herbs and spices.
Before the water is used, it is subjected to various processes: first filtration and then demineralisation in order to extract all the minerals especially iron, calcium and chlorine. Once the water is pure, it can be used as an ingredient of the spirit.
The third ingredient is sugar, which, like the alcohol, is extracted from sugar beet. The cultivation of this tuber began on a large scale in the 18th century when the Academy of Sciences in Berlin discovered that it was a rich source of sugar. Beet processing is quite complex, but above all it requires a very short timescale as the tuber, which contains a lot of water, falls apart easily soon after harvesting. Antica Sambuca uses high-quality sucrose with a very white colour.
This gives a sugar-water solution, which leads to a colourless, crystalline final product, an essential element for a high-quality spirit. The aromatic element of sambuca is crucial. This is derived from the distillation of an infusion of star anise and over 17 herbs and spices, such as wormwood, cinnamon, fennel, white pepper, iris, bitter orange and sweet orange. As heir to a long tradition, which dates back to 1868 and the legacy of the pharmacist Dr G B Rossi, Rossi D’Asiago Distillery is the guardian of historic recipes and distillation techniques.
These are still used today in modern technological systems, which allow the company to create spirits of great value and integrity, as testified by the numerous awards that Antica Sambuca has gained worldwide.