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A Taste of Grappa

A Taste of Grappa

In Italy, after a hearty meal on a cold winter's night, we reach for grappa, a traditional digestivo, or after-dinner drink.

Made using the pomace (a blend of grape seeds, stalks, and stems) leftover from the wine-making process, grappa is the perfect example of zero waste. The pomace is combined with alcohol, then heated. This allows the mixture to separate, leaving behind a super potent beverage that is bottled and aged for up to six months. The resulting drink is not light by any means — on average, it contains 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume — and is served in small glasses of about one to two ounces.

When producers first began making grappa, they took a "mix-and-match" approach and used a blend of pomace from a variety of grapes. In the 1960s, producers began experimenting by making grappa with a single grape for a higher quality drink and adding sugar for a less intense flavor.

Today, you can find high-quality versions of both dry and sweet grappa, but rest assured: it will always be potent! While excellent on its own, grappa is sometimes mixed with a steaming shot of espresso to create caffè corretto, or "corrected coffee." In other words, this is the ultimate after-dinner drink.

Inspired by the holidays (and perhaps the weather), our beverage experts at Eataly Chicago teamed up with Rhine Hall, a local family-owned small-batch distillery, to create our own collaboration grappa! Using pomace from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah grapes, the Exclusive Eataly 2016 Superblend has enticing aromas of chamomile, black currant, caramel, citrus peel, and sweet plantains.

Taste this exclusive Eataly-Rhine Hall grappa at Vino Libero, our wine bar located in our wine, beer, and spirits department, then bring home a bottle to begin your own winter traditions.