Sambuca may be served neat. It may also be served on the rocks or with water, resulting in the ouzo effect from the anethole in the anise.
Sambuca is considered to go particularly well with coffee. Like other anise liqueurs, it may be drunk after coffee as a ammazzacaffè or added directly to coffee in place of sugar to produce a caffè corretto.
A serving of sambuca can be a shot with seven coffee beans, representing the seven hills of Rome. Likewise, a shot with one coffee bean, called con la mosca, which means "with the fly", is as common. The traditional serving is with three coffee beans, each representing health, happiness and prosperity. The shot may be ignited to toast the coffee beans with the flame extinguished immediately before drinking