The Culture and History of Homemade Grappa
Homemade Grappa is traditionally made from grape stalks, seeds and stems (essentially the remaining components of the wine making process) and has been around since the Middle Ages. Grappa was understood very little outside of Italy until after the War when some mass production started to take place. Like many Italians, my father makes his own grappa after the wine making process is complete in mid to late September.
Grappa was first produced in the Venetto region of Italy; specifically, in the town of Bassano del Grappa. And, like many Italian culinary products, the fragrant and potent liquir was a peasant drink (consumed by the working class during the winter months).
Making and Serving Homemade Grappa
My father’s homemade product is about 70 percent alcohol and/or 140 proof and is made via distillation (that is to say, by slowly heating the components <including sugar> and capturing the mixture’s evaporation). Grappa production is a slow process and the yields are usually very low. Most grappa is made from multiple grape types, but there are single grape varietals (which are usually more coveted).
We serve our homemade grappa at room temperature, but traditionally it is served chilled. The best time to consume grappa is after a large meal (as a digestivo). Some Italians add grappa to espresso, in turn, creating a Café Corretto.