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All About Grappa

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:

  • Young grappa is bottled shortly after production without being stored in barrels. Young grappa is transparent and boasts a delicate aroma and clean, dry taste.
  • Cask-conditioned grappas are unpasteurized and unfiltered. The conditioning is the beverage's penultimate stage in which the grappa clarifies, matures and carbonates. The amount of time the grappa undergoes conditioning depends on the brewer and desired flavor, but it can last anywhere from 24 hours to a little over two weeks. These grappas are served straight from a cask without any added carbon dioxide pressure or nitrogen. As such, purist tend to love cask-conditioned grappas.
  • Aromatic grappa is produced using aromatic grape varieties that are rich in terpenes, which are the fragrant oils present in the fruit. Thanks to the grappa's distillation process, the terpenes fully release and infuse their flavors naturally.
  • Aromatized grappas may sound similar to the aromatic variety, but there's a big difference. Aromatic essences are added to the grappa at the end of distillation rather than playing a major role in it. Depending on the desired flavor, this may mean adding essences of blackberry, raspberry, juniper and other fruits and herbs to the beverage after it's already been distilled.

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.

So what are you waiting for? Buy grappa online through Drizly at a great price and have it delivered directly to your door. Cheers.