German or American Schnapps, That’s The Question

PuckerOn our upcoming episode of the Everyday Drinkers podcast we’re going to cover different liqueurs from herbal liquor to cream, berry, coffee and other crazy flavors. Schnapps has fallen into my scope of “liqueurs” to cover for the next podcast. This includes peach flavors and other crazy sweet substances to give you a buzz… but they’re not really a German Schnapps (as the name “schnapps” would suggest)–they’re American.

Schnapps is a style of distilled beverage, ethanol if you will, many of which are high in alcohol content while others are more flavor than buzz. You have have heard them being called “spirits” or “distilled spirits” because they fall into the this realm of drink category, referring to low sugar distilled beverages usually 35% alcohol by volume or higher. A spirit may be tequila, vodka, grappa, gin, brandy, absinthe, whiskey and our topic of discussion…schnapps!

American schnapps is often very sweet and not as high in alcohol as a true German schnapps. If you’re in the United States there is a pretty good chance you’ve tasted a cinnamon schnapps (I prefer Fire Water), Butterscotch, Peach, Watermelon and Peppermint schnapps. Rest assured you’ve tasted what is known as an American schnapps!

The German counter part (originally called schnaps) is an unsweetened distilled spirit often derived from fruits. The pulp of fruits make for a German schnapps and the flavors are that of the fruit itself, not from artificial flavors and excessive sugars.

I can’t think of a German schnapps offhand because it’s not what I’ve grown up drinking. When I hear the word schnapps I think ultra-sweet colorful drinks with excessive sugars and a sick belly if I drink too much. I’m not a fan of peppermint schnapps because it’s just too ice cold for my throat, usually going with the Fire Water or other cinnamon flavored drink. Perhaps it is great marketing campaigns but when I think schnapps I’m envisioning the De Kuyper label.

Pucker, HotDamn, Tropical Pineapple (which I believe I have for the podcast) and other bright bottles. Think Jolly Rancher of alcohol and you’re onto an American Schnapps.

I think it’s time to expand my horizon and find a good German schnapps. What do you like?


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