Brandy in two stemmed glasses and a lowball glass
Grappa: The Often Misinterpreted Italian Brandy
Once known "as a poor man’s drink," the Italian brandy called Grappa is now easing its way into the spotlight and usurping the popularity of other digestifs.
Grappa began in the Middle Ages as an astringent, cheap wine alternative. By the 19th century, distillers created a more refined version, and its once poor reputation has waned.
The drink is made out of pomace, the pulpy residue after grapes are pressed for wine, which is filtered, distilled, left to rest for six months, aged, and bottled.
Grappa has transformed from cheap and bitter to indulgent and delicious, with fragrant notes of grape and flavors ranging from fresh, fruity, and floral to rich and chocolatey.
This liquor can even be used for cooking, from light, dry Grappa-based sauces and salad dressings to rich, sweet Grappa-based marinades for red meat and desserts.
You can find Grappa at a liquor store or online, with bottles ranging from $20 to $50. Just look for the DOP label on the bottle to ensure it’s authentic Italian Grappa.
You can but this brandy in unaged varieties to ones aged over 18 months, along with bottles made from a single grape variety, a blend, or even infused with herbs and fruit.
Although usually enjoyed as a digestif after a meal, Grappa can be mixed into a cocktail or even espresso. It should be served chilled and poured about 15 minutes before drinking.