GRAPPA: Brandy of Italy


Grappa is an Italian brandy.  It’s traditionally made from pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks, and stems that are a by-product of the winemaking process.  It doesn’t sound great yet, but anything Italian automatically wins.  Trust me!


Grappa was originally made in the town of Bassano del Grappa, located in Italy’s northern Veneto region where it gets its name.  The name “grappa” is protected in the European Union, so to be called grappa, it must be:

  1. Produced in Italy, in the Italian part of Switzerland, or in San Marino
  2. Produced from pomace
  3. Fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace, with no added water

The taste of Grappa depends on the type of grape used.  It tends to be potent and dry…and did I say potent? After distillation, Grappa is usually stored in glass bottles for about six months before it is distributed.  Americans tend to like sweeter Grappa, with a little syrup added.  The Grappa sold today can be about 40 to 65 percent alcohol, which is 80 to 125 proof.

Bassano del Grappa, Italy


It’s usually served chilled, on the rocks or not, after a meal (digestif).  It should be swirled gently in the glass, smelled before tasting and taking a small sip.  Grappa glasses have become popular in recent years.  So fancy!

Because of grappa’s light taste, you can easily mix it with other alcohol such as vodka or gin. You can also mix it with liqueurs such as limoncello (one of my faves!) to create a great, blended cocktail.  A popular cocktail in the US that includes Grappa is a Genoese cocktail:


  • 2 parts Grappa
  • 2 parts Vodka
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 1 part Sambuca


  1. Chill grappa and vodka
  2. Add dry vermouth and sambuca in a cocktail shaker
  3. Strain into a martini glass
  4. Enjoy!

Grappa is definitely one of the strongest liquors I’ve ever tried.  I’m not able to drink straight but in a blended cocktail…perfection!


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