Originating in Italy's northern regions of Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige and the Veneto, Grappa is made by distilling the grape vinacce (skins, pulp, seeds and stems). Much like fine wine, there is a vast difference in the quality of industrial and artisinal versions. The quality and freshness of the raw materials is paramount, and it is the smaller scaled distilleries using single  batch discontinuous distillation techniques that produce the finest, most aromatic grappa.

UE, or Aqua Vitae, is made using the same process but rather than distilling the vinacce it is made from fresh grapes, capturing more of the varieties unique characteristics. Fruit distillates are made using a similiar technique and are especially popular throughtout the North East. 

Grappa is best served in a small, clear tulip-shaped glass at around cellar temperature, 15°C, and is enjoyed as a digestive to end a meal, or to accompany simple desserts such as torta di ricotta, panforte and dark chocolate. Alternatively, you can pour Grappa into an espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto, meaning corrected coffee. In the Veneto, there is resentin, meaning little rinser: after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, add a little splash of Grappa, swirl and drink in one sip!

Amaro, meaning bitter, is also the name given to the popular digestive made in all regions and provinces of Italy. These are made by infusing alcohol with fruits, botanicals and herbs and they vary in terms of bitterness and alcoholic strength. Best enjoyed served cool, or on ice with a wedge of lemon or orange at the end of a meal.   


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