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Grappa

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Grappa is a fragrant grape-based pomace brandy of between 37.5% and 60% alcohol by volume (75 to 120 US proof) of Italian origin, similar to Spanish orujo liquor, Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin lozovača or komovica or Chacha of the Republic of Georgia and Portuguese aguardente.

Literally "grape stalk", most grappa is made by distilling pomace and 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 It was originally made to prevent waste by using leftovers at the end of the wine season. A similar drink, known as acquavite d'uva, is made by distilling whole must. 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.

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.

Left: A bottle of grappa.

 
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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 "ammazzacaffè" (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 resentin: after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup, swirled and drunk down in one sip.

Left: Pomace (the solid remains of grapes after pressing) is used to produced grappa.

 

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