Those interested in Grappa received training in the traditional Italian spirit at Hello Grappa! Days 2023 in New York from June 14 to 16.
Grappa is experiencing a resurgence in interest due to its durability (it is made from grape pomace, which is left over from the winemaking process) and its versatility as a sipping or cocktail spirit. As more and more people search for artisanal products and become interested in creative cocktails, they find that Grappa meets a variety of their needs. Hello Gropa! The days were an opportunity for them to learn more about this popular spirit and the best way to consume it.
A highlight of the series of gatherings was the Grappa Cocktail Contest, designed to show that grappa is great in cocktails. Eleven talented bartenders competed to create impressive Grappa-based cocktails. Nicolas Brimau, a renowned mixologist in New York, won with AMORE, a shaken cocktail with notes of passion fruit, aquafaba and chamomile.
In addition to the cocktail competition, approximately 150 spirits and wine professionals attended masterclasses and educational workshops. The sessions covered a wide range of topics, including Grappa’s rich history, its production process, its aging regime and its status as a sustainable product with diverse applications. Attendees had the opportunity to taste a variety of Grappas and meet producers and representatives of eleven Grappa brands from different regions of Italy.
“We had a significant impact during Hello Grappa! Days,” said Michael Wangbickler, president of Balzac Communications & Marketing, the organizers of the activities.
“Grappa is unknown to many in the United States, both commercial and consumer. We took this opportunity to help educate and elevate this artisanal spirit during Hello Grappa! Days.”
After several conversations with event attendees, there was unprecedented interest, and many left as new Grappa fans.
“The event with the Grappa Cocktail Contest was particularly effective,” added Wangbickler. “It showed everyone that Grappa is a versatile spirit, excellent in cocktails or drunk straight. Attendees were very engaged, having the chance to try all of the bartenders’ creations. I am grateful to everyone who participated in the week’s activities and to the warm welcome we received everywhere we went. I can’t wait to see more Grappa imports and more access to that special spirit.
Some fun facts about Grappa
Grappa is an alcohol distilled from pomace (grape skins and seeds) after wine fermentation. First of all, the distillers select only the pomace of the best Italian wines for the distillation process. Although any grape can be used, the skins and seeds used to produce Moscato, Barolo and Brunello are among the most commonly selected products.
The pomace is carefully heated to produce steam, which captures both the alcohol and the aromatic compounds that remain in the grapes. The vapor floats in a separate chamber and is condensed into a liquid.
Lowering the alcohol content of the distillate is essential. The Grappa is diluted with pure water until the desired alcohol content is reached. It is then filtered at low temperature to remove all impurities. Grappa can be unaged or aged, depending on the producer’s end goal.
It is common to serve grappa on its own in a chalice, tulip or balloon glass. Serve the unaged Grappa slightly chilled (47˚F if possible) and Grappa aged at cool room temperature (about 60˚F). Fill the glass only a quarter full and leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the aromas to develop.
Grappa is also delicious in a variety of cocktails. Substitute it as the spirit of choice in many classic cocktails or experiment to find a pleasant and original combination. The VE.N.TO cocktail, the first cocktail developed specifically to showcase Grappa, is another option.
Hello Grappa! is a three-year information and promotional campaign designed to increase Americans’ understanding of Grappa IG. The project was sponsored by AssoDistil and co-funded by the European Union according to Reg. 1144/2014. Get more details about the campaign and about Grappa at www.hellograppa.com or on Facebook and Instagram.