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All about grappa
What is grappa?
In the past, grappa was one of the most misunderstood spirits in the world, but today the bartender community is rediscovering it as a sophisticated cocktail ingredient.
Producers make this spirit from the byproducts of wine such as grape seeds, skins and stems. After all, Italians say that the skin is the most flavorful part of a grape berry. This liquor has a higher alcohol content than wine — typically between 35% and 60% ABV, which is comparable to other liquors such as vodka and rum.
Also, did we mention grappa's digestive properties? In Italy, sipping the spirit after a large meal is an unmissable ritual.
Types of grappa
This Italian spirit has many types, and they differ by age, grape variety or added flavors. Young or white grappa liquor is, as the name suggests, not aged. It's characterized by a clear appearance and a delicate, enjoyable aroma. Aged or old grappas age in wooden barrels from 12 to 18 months. Varieties that are more than 18 months old have the name of "very old" or "reserva" and feature a more complex taste.
Producers make this spirit from hundreds of grape varieties, obtaining different flavor profiles. Grappas come from moscato, malvasia, prosecco, pinot, chardonnay and many other areas. Some producers make aromatized varieties with several fruits and officinal herbs, including berries, juniper and licorice. Wouldn't you love to sip an Italian liquor that smells just like a Christmas tree? Rue-flavored grappas, made from the rue plant, have a pleasantly bitter taste and sometimes contain a branch from the plant.
Lastly, poli-varietal varieties contain many grape species rather than just one. You'll recognize poli-varietal bottles because they typically have no information related to the grape on the label.