We’ve come a long way from picking rotten fruit up off the ground to get schwifty. Now, it’s a long process of growing fresh fruits/grains/vegetables/herbs, shipping them around, metal cylinders and tube processing, and bottles and cans (and just clap your hands).
Anyway and however, there still exists one lil guy that depends upon byproducts themselves to make its own life. This guy’s name is Grappa.
Grappa is made from pomace – grape skins, seeds, and stalks – the leftover stuff from winemaking. It is then distilled, and either bottled immediately (bianca) or aged in casks (riserva).
You can get flavored grappa, but in terms of first impressions, I’d focus on getting a good quality bianca or riserva, Original flavored. Then mix in your juices, sodas, and Proseccos to achieve the flavor you’re looking for if you’re not going straight (or neat, or up..). Because, think: if Jim Beam Red Stag (AKA cherry syrup “bourbon”) was the first whiskey you ever drank and as such the formational reference for your perspective on the spirit as a whole, would you really ever drink whiskey again?
Those college parties can really do a number on our relationship to alcohol.
Grappa is one if Italy’s most popular spirits, used both as a digestif (after-meal digestive aid), or used to “correct” coffee, by adding it to espresso. Consumed by itself, its taste is most reminiscent of a sweet(er) cognac.
Perhaps it won’t take off in the US by these means, at least any time soon, as we don’t have the same culinary culture re: digestifs, apertifs, and the like. But with our ever-growing and diversifying cocktail movement, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll be seeing it a lot more on cocktail menus, and making its name that way. Birthed of a byproduct, you could say that it’s somewhat of an environmental necessity in its field.