Grappling with Grappa

I bought a bottle of grappa a few months ago thinking that my calendar had a recipe this fall that calls for it. Alas, it doesn't. In fact, Internet Cocktail Database has only one cocktail recipe calling for grappa.

My bottle is Grappa di Pino Zardetto. Grappa is the distilled leftovers from the wine-making process: stems, skins, etc. Wikipedia says it's a "pomace brandy". If you're interested in what that is, it's easier to read their explanation than my trying to paraphrase it:

Grappa is pretty high proof: 75 to 120. It looks like rubbing alcohol in the glass. My first reaction to tasting it is it tastes like rubbing alcohol too.

But after I took a few sips, I began to get its floral notes. Or maybe it was just the proof talking in a slur. It's not a liqueur I'd ever gulp down in even sherry-like quantities, but it's a nice sipping liqueur.

Wikipedia says that in Italy grappa is often drunk as a digestif, and many times they add a shot to espresso, which they call an espresso corretto, corrected espresso, or put a little into the dregs of a cup of espresso and drink it that way. Those Italians really know how to do a meal right.

If I have a chance this evening I'll make the grappa cocktail and report on it here.

And the review: the cocktail calls for 2 parts gin (I used Calvert's) to 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part sambucca, and 1 part grappa, shaken over ice, poured into a cocktail glass (or a red Solo cup, as is my usual practice).

Not a bad cocktail: if you like licorice/anise, you'll like this because the sambucca overwhelms the other flavors. I'm not a big licorice fan, but I can go for this one. It's also a sweet drink without being too sweet, like a lot of creme de cacao cocktails. I'm not sure I can taste the grappa, but I'm sure I'll get the kick from it.