This week for our Thirsty Thursday blog we are hopping on a plane and landing in beautiful Italy. Here we will sample a drink known as Grappa, and learn about the history of it’s production. Let’s get right into it shall we, so much to drink, I mean learn, so much to learn.
Grappa is a grape based brandy with an alcohol content between 35-60%. It is similar to wine in the fact that depending on the grape used to make it the flavor profile changes. It is made by distilling the skins, pulp, seeds and stems or the leftovers from wine making. Grappa, like many other European alcohols, is now regulated by the European Union if it is to be called Grappa. What that means is to be called Grappa it needs to be produced in Italy, the Italian part of Switzerland or San Marino. It has to be produced from pomace (the leftovers from winemaking) and the fermentation and distillation must occur on the pomace with no added water.
It’s history, like many other alcohols, is confusing and disputed. Some sources trace Grappa back to the 1st century A.D. There is a legend that Egyptians distilled it in the 2nd century in a town in Italy called Bassano del Grappa. Although historians claim the technology was not available at that time to be able to do such a process. Jumping forward a few hundred years to the 1300s and 1400s water as a coolant was created allowing for a correct distillation process. This process was actually used until about 50 years ago, when technology caught up with the distilleries and new more advanced ways were now used.
So, what this means is if you want to try this grape brandy it is time to book that trip you’ve always wanted to take to Italy. Sure you can get Grappa here, but half the experience of drinking these types of alcohols is the setting. Which means it’s time to call Ambassador Travel at 920.236.7777
Happy thirsty Thursday everyone! We are only one short day away from the weekend, Yay! No matter what your plans are I hope they include relaxing and sitting down with a cold one, or maybe even our featured drink of the day–Sake.
Pronounced sock-ee, this Japanese beverage is a rice wine made from fermenting polished rice. If you frequent Japanese establishments like sushi or hibachi restaurants you may be familiar with the drink. Although it is a rice wine, it is actually made more like a beer than a wine. Because it is produced by brewing rather than fermenting. It is also much stronger than both beer and wine at about 18-20% alcohol by volume.
In Japanese sake can be used as a general term for alcohol where the english term sake is normally called nihonshu. If you are traveling to Japan to try this traditional drink then look for the word Seishu, as that is what sake is labeled as in Japan. Sake is the national beverage of Japan and thus served at ceremonies like weddings. It is generally warmed and served in a porcelain bottle, you sip out of a small porcelain cup. You will find this same procedure done here in the U.S. at Japanese restaurants as well.
The history of sake is unclear because the alcohol making process in Asia predates the record keeping process. The first reference to alcohol in Japan is in 3rd century writing. So we at least know that sake is thousands of years old.
Sakes come in a variety of flavors often flavored with fruit, flowers, herbs and spices. You can learn about the different profiles or make ups of different sake’s by reading the label. There are 3 indictors that will help you determine the type of sake that it is. Look for the words Nihanshu-do, San-do and aminosan-do. Nihanshu-do will tell you the sugar and alcohol content of the sake. San-do gives you the concentration of acids, and aminosan-do will tell you the sake’s savoriness.
Want to try sake in it’s native land? Then it is time to give us a call her at Ambassador Travel 920.233.7777