Grappa

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Glass of grappa

Grappa is a fragrant grape-based pomace brandy of between 50% and 80% alcohol by volume (100 to 160 proof), of Italian origin. Literally "grape stalk", most grappa is made by distilling pomace, grape residue (mainly the skins, but also stems and seeds) left over from winemaking after pressing. It was originally made to prevent waste by using leftovers at the end of the wine season. It quickly became commercialised, mass produced, and sold worldwide. Some grappa, known as prima uva, is made with the whole grapes. The flavour of grappa, like that of wine, depends on the type and quality of the grape used as well as the specifics of the distillation process.

Grappa was originally made in the northern Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, and some contend that this is the origin of the name, rather than from the Latin graspa.

In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a "digestivo" or after-dinner drink. Its main purpose was to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. Grappa may also be added to espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto meaning corrected coffee. Another variation of this is the "ammazza caffè" (literally, "coffee-killer"): the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass. In the Veneto, there is something called Resentin: after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup and swirled, and drunk down in one sip.

Most grappa is clear, indicating that it is an un-aged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.


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