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Sambucca-Citron Martini

Anything can be a martini these days, and an often-overlooked ingredient in them is Sambuca, the liqueur made from the perfect infusion of elderberries, anise, and licorice (along with some other secrets) that makes this a treat of a drink. Sambuca is typically served on the rocks with three whole coffee beans added for healthy, happiness and prosperity, and it’s often added to coffee. In this martini it plays a much more starring role, and is balanced by a bunch of citrus flavors that complement Sambuca’s sweetness. Whatever you do, don’t forget the bitters. Made from distilled fruit, peels, and roots and bark of fruit trees, the bitters makes the drink a lovely shade of orange and add the umami that will make guests wonder what the heck you added to make their drink so fantabulous.

Makes 2 drinks


4 ounces Absolut Citron, Ketel One Citronelle, or comparable best-quality citrus vodka

2 ounces Sambuca (more, if you prefer a stronger licorice flavor)

6 dashes orange bitters (Angostura, Fee Brothers and Stirrings are good brands)

Juice of one lemon


6 espresso beans for garnish (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with about a cup of ice cubes. Shake until the shaker develops condensation on the outside, about 30 seconds. Pour into two martini glasses, adding three espresso beans per glass.

This recipe is featured on show 2426 - The Best Cocktails and Snacks.


  1. Jeanne Nooney's avatar

    Jeanne Nooney

    I loved watching this show! I want to try all of the cocktails you showed! I especially love licorice (anise) and am excited to get the liqueurs and try them. It was also charming to see the love/respect that Mary Ann and her daughter-in-law share.

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