Pairing grappa: on its own or in company?
Smooth or on the rocks? With chocolate or panettone? What are the diverse ways to enjoy Grappa and what are the recommended pairings?
Some say that it should only be served after a meal. Others say it must be mixed with coffee. And some others see it as the star of new mixology. But how and when can Grappa be tasted best?
BETTER ON ITS OWN
Grappa is not a neutral liquor. Unlike other spirits, it should be consumed and appreciated on its own in order to fully enjoy its aromas and flavors. We are using the conditional because, nowadays, habits quickly change. But grappa is undoubtedly a spirit of its land and, in order to “capture” it, there is no better way than taking some time and tasting it “bare”, in the right glass and without ice!
Because grappa is rich in fragrant oils extracted from the pomace during distillation. Ice would roil the liquor and the cold would hide its true aromas.
So don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a glass of grappa at the end of a meal. The alcohol content is approximately equivalent to that of a glass of wine and so, there would be no need to feel guilty about a sip or two after lunch or dinner. Rather, you will smell its extraordinary scents better.
To enjoy a true meditation grappa, purchase Grappa di Barolo Brunate 2016, a masterpiece available on the Marolo website!
BETTER IN COMPANY
Just like wine, grappa also has its ideal pairings: this is why some people prefer it “with company”.
But pairings must be carefully made. There is a key rule to keep in mind: they must never overpower the scents of grappa, otherwise what’s the use? Also, they must be sweet or have a slightly oily texture. The alcohol in grappa tends to blend well with these delicacies and cleanse the mouth, readying it for a new sip.
1. Dried fruit
Fruit and grappa at the end of a meal is a classic pairing. Fresh fruit (peaches, pears, apples, pineapples, berries) goes well with a young and fragrant grappa. Maybe a Grappa di Arneis, Barbera, or Freisa. On the other hand, dried fruit prefers an aged grappa that ensures a perfect mix of flavors thanks to its toasted nuances. We recommend a Grappa di Barolo aged for 9 or 12 years.
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Another legendary combination features grappa and chocolate. Always choose a high-quality and artisanal product for a deeper experience: it must not be too sweet nor too bitter. If it’s excessively sweet, it would end up being cloying; but if it’s too bitter, it would be at odds with the dryness of grappa, resulting in a rough combination.
Dark chocolate (60-70%) is perfect with Grappa di Nebbiolo. The bitter and robust aftertaste of dark chocolate will perfectly combine with the clear and savory aromas of grappa, providing austere, warm and pleasant sensations.
Let’s admit it: why pair grappa with a “normal” panettone when you can have one filled with pear and chocolate? Choose an artisanal panettone, one with dark chocolate chips and high-quality pear jam. Then you would need an equally important pairing, a grappa that can enhance the intense flavor of cocoa and fruit, taking the sensations to a higher level. We recommend Grappa di Barolo 20 anni, a masterpiece brought to life by excellent aging and patient distillation. The robust and slightly toasted flavor of dark chocolate will perfectly combine with the clear and savory aromas of Grappa di Barolo 20 anni, giving austere, warm and pleasant sensations that will be elevated by the pear jam: its syrupy flavor will be reflected by the aromas of our grappa.
BETTER WHEN MIXED
The continuous pursuit of new combinations and occasions for drinking has brought to the creation of grappa-based cocktails and long drinks, mirroring the famous Cuba Libre, Caipirinha or Mojito. Mixology using milk, cream, honey, lemon zest, mint syrup and cherries. It is not unusual to find bars offering Grappa Tonic, Sun Rise or Grappa Flip. And the Piedmontese mojito – a grappa-based drink – is not an urban legend!
However, we must pay close attention when mixing grappa. As we have already mentioned earlier, it is not a neutral distillate, and it must find its proper place in a cocktail in order to not result in an unpleasant drink. At Marolo, we have prepared a series of grappa-based cocktails that are perfect for every occasion.