Week 18 in The Year of Drinking Adventurously! Grappa!
This week the virtual booze cruise takes us to Italy to drink grappa. This, of course, presents me with another opportunity to regale you with stories about me doing stupid stuff on foreign soil!
But first, grappa…
Grappa is made from pressed skins and seeds of the grapes used in winemaking – the refuse of the process. It is classified as a brandy and has been consumed for about seven hundred years. The fact is – it’s ingredients are essentially the offal of wine. Thus the traditional consumers of the product tended to be the lower classes. According to Jeff’s book: “But like every other food or beverage wth extremely humble beginnings, it’s evolved to invite even the most discerning connoisseurs.”
Of course, there are rules as to what can be classified as grappa. Like where it’s been produced, how it’s been produced, etc. It is a distilled product, a spirit, not just fermented grapes. And the distillation process has improved to the point where the end result is not the rotgut it was once reputed to be!
The traditional way to drink grappa is after a meal with a cup of expresso. I don’t know about you all, but I can’t have caffeine after about 4:00 in the afternoon, or else I’ll be up all night (and not to get lucky) so that option was immediately off the table. Thusly, I drank it on the rocks. (Go figure, right?) And… was pleasantly surprised! Maybe, because I like brandy? I don’t know.
Once again, I am at a loss to compare to anything else I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t have a traditional brandy taste, it doesn’t taste like wine at all. I even taste tested it alongside straight vodka, because, well… it is clear, after all. That makes sense, right?
Anyhoo… I can sincerely recommend giving grappa a try. You might not want to drink it on a regular basis, but after a nice Italian meal with some decaf expresso? Why not?
My trip to Italy in 2009 was limited to Rome, Naples, and Pompeii. Italy is one of those places which needs a month to properly explore. I loved it. Talk about the living la dolce vita. The art, the history, the food, the wine, and most importantly — the people.
I never realized just how laid back Europeans are compared to Americans until I visited Italy. My story is this: it was a Friday afternoon, the sun is high in the sky. We’ve been wandering around since lunchtime — The Pantheon, The Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain, The Mouth of Truth…
(I am Gregory Peck to Harry’s Audrey Hepburn. Actually, he’s pretending I’m some random stranger in this photo…)
Needless to say, with all this walking around and accompanying silliness, we worked up a thirst. We found a lovely little cafe (not hard to find, they’re everywhere) to stop for a drink and a rest. And inevitably I had to visit “il bagno” before we ventured on. Fun fact: some Italian restrooms are co-ed. How forward thinking of them… And the stalls automatically sanitize themselves. Nifty, right? If only they warned you ahead of time…
Imagine my surprise when, upon exiting the stall of the bathroom, I… a) get showered with a fine spray of disinfectant, because I stopped dead at the sight of… b) a really cute guy leaning against the sink waiting his turn! Speechless, I stared open-mouthed until smiling, he shooed me out of the way. I may or may not have washed my hands. But hey, I got automatically sanitized so that counts, right?
Don’t forget to visit Lula and see if she conquered grappa!