Beyond Wine: How Grapes Can Be Used In Other Liquors
When one thinks of grapes, it is instinctive to think of wine. This, however, doesn’t have to be the only association we have with the fruit. Like the art of mixology, the world of spirits is also constantly evolving with new infusions and flavours. Grapes are a part of this endeavour. A versatile, crisp and flavourful fruit, grapes bring a unique twist to the world of distilled spirits. Let’s look at some popular distilled spirits that use grapes as flavouring. Chances are that one of them might pique your interest enough to give it a shot.
Grapes in Brandy
While wine may be the most obvious result of grape fermentation, brandy is a wonderful example of how the fruit can be distilled into a sophisticated spirit. Originating from the Dutch word “brandewijn” meaning “burned wine”, brandy is typically made from fermented grape juice. The result is a rich and complex flavour profile that brings out the inherent qualities of the fruit. Whether it is the crispness of a young grape brandy or the deep notes of a fine Cognac, grapes provide diverse iterations of flavours for this spirit.
If you are a fan, you can enjoy a neat pour of a well-aged Cognac or Armagnac to experience the spectrum of grape flavours.
Grapes in Gin
Traditionally made from juniper berries and a mix of botanicals, gin has lately been witnessing a rebirth. Known for its sharp, piney taste, today distillers are incorporating grape spirits into their gin recipes to create a spirit with fruity undertones, giving gin lovers a new flavour to explore.
If you are a fan, go for a classic Gin and Tonic, with grape-infused gin. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit to enjoy the refreshing cocktail.
A popular after-dinner drink in Northern Italy, grappa is made out of grape pomace, which includes the stems, seeds and skins that are usually discarded. There’s nothing fruity about the spirit’s flavour profile, instead, it packs in a fiery punch.
If you are a fan, try a combination of grappa, coffee liqueur, cacao liqueur, espresso coffee and vanilla ice cream. Or, you can have it straight as a shot.
Grapes in Vodka
A neutral spirit, vodka is the perfect canvas for grape infusion. The natural sweetness of the fruit goes well with the clean and neutral profile of vodka. The result is a subtly flavoured spirit. This grape-infused spirit opens up a world of cocktail possibilities, everything from a fruity martini to a refreshing highball.
If you are a fan, combine grape-infused vodka, a splash of elderflower liqueur, and a dash of fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Strain the mixture into a martini glass and garnish with grapes.
Grapes in Rum
Traditionally made from sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice, rum is a result of sugarcane that is fermented and distilled. Today, distillers have been experimenting with grape infusions to create a spirit that captures the fruity and aromatic essence of the fruit.
If you are a fan, try your hand at mixing grape-infused rum with pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine and a splash of lime. Serve this fruity punch over ice.
With that, we wrap up our list of five spirits that can be infused with grapes. If you get yourself a bottle of one of these grape-infused spirits, be mindful about how you store it. Remember that some spirits may benefit from ageing in the bottle, while others are best enjoyed fresh. To maintain its quality, store the spirit away from direct sunlight or extreme temperature. Don’t forget to experiment with various grape-infused spirits. Sampling will help you discover new favourites!