If you’ve had any experience with grappa, it likely came at the end of a meal at an Italian restaurant after a waiter handed you a shot glass of clear liquid. It burned going down, probably, and you weren’t quite sure what you’d just consumed. Grappa has been a beloved spirit in Italy for more than 200 years, yet its reputation hasn’t exactly been stellar in the U.S. Over the past five years, however, grappa imports have ramped up, providing an increasing number of options. Grappa is no longer a mystery spirit you should be wary of, it’s something you should experiment with. Here’s what you need to know about grappa.
What Is Grappa Made From?
Grappa is made from the skins of wine grapes, which is called pomace. Unlike brandy, which is made from wine, or whiskey, which is made from a liquid mash, grappa is made from a solid. Producers use the grape skins, seeds and stems that sat in the fermentation tank with grape juice to make red wine. They can also make grappa from white wine byproduct, but since the pomace isn’t usually fermented with the juice during white wine production, distillers must first ferment the skins and seeds themselves.