IWSR Magazine May 2013
Natural, quality ingredients and a high-quality production process are the basis of Antica Sambuca.
The most important step in the production process of Antica Sambuca is the preparation of the anise distillate, which forms the heart of Antica Sambuca. It is obtained by distilling an infusion of star anise and a mixture of more than 17 herbs and spices in a bain-marie system. Distillation is a crucial process as it ensures the product’s quality.
Rossi D’Asiago still uses a copper still dating back to the late 1940s, but the company has recently added another one to enhance production capacity. The still is made up of a central chamber, where the raw materials to be distilled are placed. In the Rossi D’Asiago plant, all the ingredients necessary for the production of Antica Sambuca are stored in containers where they never come into contact with the external environment, in order to avoid any contamination. The central chamber is contained in a larger outer chamber. In the space in between the two chambers is water, which is heated by a burner.
The great advantage of distillation with this system is that the temperature is uniform throughout the chamber and the flame is not directed at a single point. With this slow distillation method there is no risk of damage to the product as it is not excessively heated by the flame, thus preserving all the aromatic substances distilled. The result of the distillation process is a crystal-clear, intensely flavoured liquid, with an alcohol strength of 70% abv. In the next stage of the production process, the alcohol is added to the anise distillate and anise oil. At the same time, in another mixing tank, demineralised water is mixed with extra-white sugar. The two mixtures are then combined and left to rest for at least an entire day.
Finally all the organoleptic parameters are checked and if everything is according to the distillery’s high quality standards, filtration is the next step. Filtration is also very important, because it makes sure the sambuca is free from all impurities and is perfectly clear and bright, ready for bottling.
The production process is very labour-intensive and each stage is carefully monitored by the master distiller to ensure the high quality of the product.