There is a wide range of organic materials that can be fermented to make spirits. The distillation process and source materials determine the type of spirit produced. Whisky, for example, is the produce of grains, rum, of molasses. Brandy is generally made from wines and fruits, while vodka can be produced from a range of different things. In order to understand why grappa is so special when compared to other spirits, we first need to understand exactly how other distillates are made…
Vodka can be produced from any organic foods that contain either starch or sugar. The product of fermentation is distilled in order to increase the volume of alcohol in the finished product. The majority of modern vodka is fermented from grains, including wheat, rice, corn, rye, and sorghum It can, however, just as easily be created from fruits, potatoes, and any other food with a high sugar content.
Rum is also produced from sugary organic materials, however, it is specifically created from the byproducts of sugarcane, particularly molasses and sugarcane juice. This produces a clear liquid that is generally aged in oak barrels.
Whisky is distilled from grain mash that is often malted and has been fermented. Although a variety of grains can be used, the most common are barley, rye, corn, and wheat. Like rum, whisky is cask aged in barrels most often made of oak.
Like vodka, brandy can be created from any organic foodstuff containing sugar. While French brandies are distilled exclusively from grapes. Other forms of brandy are distilled from any of the materials used in other distillates and more, including blackberries, apples, milk, sugarcane, potatoes, rye, and honey. In times of economic crisis (such as World War II) brandy was even distilled from cabbages! Brandy differs to other distillates in that heat is used in the final stages to warm the brandy stills.
Why Is Grappa So Special?
Grappa is distinct from other spirits because it can only be distilled from the pomace, or vinaccia, left over following the winemaking process. Of all the other spirits it’s most similar to brandy, which can be distilled from whole grapes (though not pomace), uses a similar process, and is also an excellent digestive. Like brandy, grappa is finished off by heating the stills. A combination of the distinct use of pomace in the creation of grappa and the precise heating process produces a completely unique and delightful drink.
We suggest you try Dappa (our own special brand of grappa, distilled at home here in Devon), as an alternative after dinner tipple, or a scrumptious cocktail. Grab a bottle now and check out some of our delicious recipes.