The schnapps glass: Grappa was originally a distillate made by the poorer Italian social classes, and mainly enjoyed by farmers. A long time passed before a special grappa glass was developed to maximise enjoyment of this national Italian drink.
There now exists a specific grappa glass complete in shape and function, although there are still slight variations. The ideal grappa glass has a long stem and is very narrow. It is slightly bulbous at the bottom, narrowing in the middle and opening out again at the rim. This encourages the aromas to develop, and guarantees first-class enjoyment. Bowl-shaped grappa glasses are also available, as are stemless glasses. Those seeking to get the best out of every drop should go for the narrow grappa glass with the long stem.
This being so, grappa glasses are not only suitable for drinking this Italian grape brandy – they also provide the optimum conditions for many other strong spirits. They can even be a great way to consume liqueurs. As you can see, the grappa glass is a very versatile aperitif glass.
Its small capacity makes our grappa glass the ideal vessel for “a quick one”. The “shot glass” usually holds up to 2 cl for a single or 4 cl for a double. In certain situations, the schnapps glass can be “downed in one”. In other countries, other volumes are the norm, and a “double” doesn’t necessarily contain exactly twice the amount of a single. The following volumes are standard for single and double schnapps glasses:
- in Canada > 1.5 fl oz and 2.5 fl oz (45 and 75 ml)
- in the USA > 1.5 fl oz and 3 fl oz (45 and 90 ml)
- in Ireland > 35 and 71 ml
- in Great Britain > 25 and 50 ml
- in Australia > 30 and 60 ml
(1) Filling a glass correctly
For ultimate grappa goodness, only fill the glass a quarter full – that’s about 2 cl depending on the grappa glass and shape. After pouring, it is advisable to wait for ten to fifteen minutes to give the liquid enough time to develop. It is not prudent to keep your nose over the rim for too long, as the sharp alcohol vapours can exhaust your sense of smell.
(2) Old vs new grappa
Grappa is traditionally made from particularly aromatic grape skins left over from making must. These grapes – which boast a high acid content – are used to produce a distillate that is stored for long periods in wood, glass or steel containers. Depending on the storage site and duration, different grappas are matured with varying features and accents. Thus young grappas are characterised by a rather neutral flavour and are not stored in wooden barrels. Older grappas, on the other hand, must mature for at least 6 months in a wooden barrel – recognisable from a slight golden colour to the spirit and a rather robust finish.
(3) Proper maintenance for grappa glasses
Grappa is by no means a drink that you would consume regularly. So it may be that your grappa glasses languish unused in the cupboard gathering all sorts of dust – even on shelves inside cupboards. It is therefore advisable to rinse them with warm water before use and stand them upside down on a fresh dishcloth to drain. After use, rinse thoroughly with warm water so that unnecessary residue does not collect in the rather inaccessible bell. If this is not possible, the glasses should at least be filled with warm water to avoid the residue drying stubbornly.