Grappa chair and settle in, cause you're about to expand your knowledge and blow minds at the next trivia night. Have you ever rifled through your pockets only to scrounge up enough money for a six-pack, and it's still a few days to payday? Sure, we've all been there. And if your bank account is bursting at the seams and you can't relate. . . well, then you wouldn't be here looking for grappa anyway. Go buy some cognac.
Grappa was created by frugal Italian winemakers who refused to believe that being poor meant you didn't deserve a good drink. They made the most of what they had, which included the discarded elements of the winemaking process. This meant crafting a beverage from the leftover grape juice, seeds, pips, skins and stalks. The result was a strong alcoholic beverage known as grappa, but you might have heard it referred to as firewater.
Strong spirits have always had their place in history. In fact, grappa was a favorite of farm workers who just wanted to stay warm during the winter. Whether you're a farmhand, a machinist, a trucker or a public-school teacher, grappa is like a warm hug you can always come home to. It also works nicely as an after-dinner drink served slightly chilled or at room temperature. Most grappas are clear, but those aged in oak barrels often have a dark golden hue, similar to cognac or malt whisky.
Types of Grappa:
Professional tasters have distinguished four grappa categories:
These main categories are by no means an exhaustive list, as grappa can be produced using a combination of styles, but they help give the taster a good idea of the grappa's origins.
How to Drink It:
Let's be honest, your first taste of grappa might not be all that pleasant. It's not called firewater for nothing! Grappa is similar to that first shot of tequila that makes you proud to finally be over the age of 21, but which you soon regret because of the burn. Oh, the burn! Grappa offers a similar experience, but quality grappas are perfect for wine lovers who want a little extra kick.
When tasting grappa, test the different varieties to determine what you like. Rub a small amount of the liquid on the back of your hand and sniff to experience its aromas. If the smell is pleasant, it's a well-made grappa free from impurities. Between taste-testing, professional tasters recommend drinking milk to refresh the taste buds.
Serve grappa after a meal as a digestif. You can add it to coffee, but we prefer grappa served in a tulip-shaped or cognac glass. Fill the glass one-quarter full and wait for at least 10 minutes. Inhale the aroma before sipping.