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Ouzo vs. Sambuca: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Published on February 16, 2024
Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit, traditionally served with water, while Sambuca is an Italian anise liqueur, often served neat or with coffee beans.
Ouzo vs. Sambuca

Key Differences

Ouzo is a traditional Greek spirit, known for its strong anise flavor and is typically diluted with water, which turns it milky white. Sambuca, an Italian liqueur, also features an anise flavor but is often enjoyed neat or with coffee beans, known as "con la mosca," meaning "with the fly."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
The production of Ouzo involves distillation with anise and other aromatic herbs, resulting in its distinctive taste. Sambuca’s flavor profile, while also centered on anise, often includes additional ingredients like elderflowers, contributing to its slightly sweeter taste.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
Ouzo is usually served as an aperitif, often accompanied by small plates of food known as meze in Greece. Sambuca, on the other hand, is frequently consumed as a digestif, and its association with coffee makes it a popular after-dinner choice.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
The alcohol content of Ouzo typically ranges from 37.5% to 50% by volume. Sambuca, in contrast, usually has a slightly higher alcohol content, generally around 38% to 42% by volume.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
In Greek culture, Ouzo is more than a drink; it's part of social life, symbolizing relaxation and leisure. In Italy, Sambuca is enjoyed as a part of the dining experience, often reflecting the Italian love for lingering over meals and conversations.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Origin

Greek
Italian
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Feb 16, 2024

Primary Flavor

Anise
Anise, sometimes with elderflowers
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Feb 16, 2024

Typical Serving

Diluted with water
Neat or with coffee beans
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Feb 16, 2024

Alcohol Content

37.5% to 50%
38% to 42%
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Cultural Significance

Part of Greek social life
Integral to Italian dining
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024
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Ouzo and Sambuca Definitions

Ouzo

Ouzo is a dry anise-flavored aperitif from Greece.
I enjoyed a glass of Ouzo while watching the sunset in Santorini.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Sambuca

Sambuca is typically consumed as a digestif.
Sambuca is my preferred digestif after a hearty Italian meal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Ouzo

It's distilled from grape must or remnants of pressed grapes.
The unique flavor of Ouzo comes from its distillation process.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Sambuca

Sambuca is a sweet, anise-flavored Italian liqueur.
After dinner, we enjoyed a glass of Sambuca.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Ouzo

Ouzo embodies the spirit of Greek hospitality and leisure.
Ouzo symbolizes the leisurely pace of life in Greek culture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024
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Sambuca

It's often served with coffee beans, called "con la mosca."
I ordered Sambuca con la mosca at the Italian restaurant.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Ouzo

It's traditionally mixed with water, turning milky white.
Mixing water with Ouzo transforms its clear color to milky white.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Sambuca

The liqueur sometimes includes elderflower or licorice flavoring.
This brand of Sambuca has a subtle hint of elderflower.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Ouzo

Ouzo is often accompanied by small appetizers or meze.
We had Ouzo with a variety of meze at the Greek taverna.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Sambuca

Sambuca reflects the Italian tradition of leisurely dining.
In Italy, Sambuca is a part of the extended dining experience.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 22, 2024

Ouzo

A colorless, unsweetened Greek liqueur flavored with anise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

An ancient triangular stringed instrument.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Ouzo

(uncountable) An anise-flavoured aperitif, originating in Greece.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

An Italian liqueur with the flavor of anise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Ouzo

(countable) A serving of this drink.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

An Italian liqueur made from elderberries and flavoured with licorice, traditionally served with 3 coffee beans that represent health, wealth and fortune (or past, present and future).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Ouzo

Anise-flavored Greek liquor
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

(musical instruments) An ancient form of triangular harp having a very sharp, shrill tone.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

An ancient type of ship-borne siege engine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Sambuca

An Italian liqueur made with elderberries and flavored with licorice
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Jan 12, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is Ouzo the same as absinthe?

No, Ouzo and absinthe are different spirits, although both have anise flavor.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What food pairs well with Ouzo?

Ouzo pairs well with Greek mezes, seafood, and grilled dishes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is the alcohol content of Ouzo?

Ouzo typically has an alcohol content ranging from 37.5% to 50% ABV.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What are the typical flavors in Sambuca?

Sambuca is flavored with anise and often includes elderflower or licorice.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What are the main ingredients in Sambuca?

Sambuca is made from distilled alcohol, sugar, and anise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is Ouzo made from?

Ouzo is made from grape must and flavored with anise.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is Sambuca served as a shot or in cocktails?

Sambuca is commonly consumed as a shot, often with coffee beans, and can also be used in cocktails like the Sambuca Espresso Martini.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is the alcohol content of Sambuca?

Sambuca usually has an alcohol content ranging from 38% to 42% ABV.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What does Sambuca taste like?

Sambuca has a sweet, licorice-like flavor with a strong anise aroma.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What are the different varieties of Sambuca available?

Varieties of Sambuca include white (clear), black (with added flavorings), and red (with added elderberry flavor).
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

What is the origin of Ouzo?

Ouzo has its origins in Greece and is often associated with Greek culture and cuisine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can Ouzo be aged like wine or whiskey?

Ouzo is not typically aged; it is usually consumed relatively young.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is Sambuca associated with any particular Italian traditions?

Sambuca is sometimes used in Italy as a digestif after a meal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Is Sambuca gluten-free?

Sambuca can be gluten-free, but it's important to check the specific brand's ingredients and production process to be sure.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

Can Sambuca be used in cooking or baking?

Yes, Sambuca can be used to add flavor to desserts or sauces.
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Shumaila Saeed
Feb 16, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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