Schnapps is a kind of distilled alcoholic beverage. The word schnapps is from German Schnaps which can is used to refer to a strong alcoholic beverage, especially one that contains at least 32% alcohol content (64 proof).
The American type of Schnapps is an alcoholic drink produced after combining any kinds of flavors with a neutral spirit. The concoction is then bottled after adding sugar and generally glycerin to produce a syrup-like, smooth beverage. The alcohol content of American Schnapps is around 15-50% (30-100 proof). On the other hand, its German counterpart is colorless and clear with a fruit flavor lightly added. German Schnaps is made from fermented fruits, and is bottled with no extra sugar. The alcohol content is around 40% (80 proof).
The well-known fruits used for making schnapps include apples, peaches, pears, cherries, apricot, raspberry, plums among many others. When apples are combined with pears, they make the famous Obstwasser. Plums produce Zwetschgenwasser and pears alone produce Williamsbirne. Plums combined with cherries produce Kirschwasser. Apricot produces Marillenschnaps, and raspberry produces a drink known as Himbeergeist
Similarly, American schnapps are produced in a wide array of flavors such as banana, blackberry, aniseed, black currant, cherry, butterscotch, cinnamon, menthol, coffee, mint, peach, rot beer, peppermint and sour apple. Note that a flavor source like butterscotch becomes hard to distill. Thus, a base alcohol is normally used, such as vodka where the flavor or fruit is steeped in it, and then added with the right flavor.
It is therefore right to state, without much overstatement, that the flavors of schnapps available today are as many soda flavors. Although most flavors are never seen in famous mixed drinks such as Manhattans or Martinis, assorted schnapps flavors proliferate in drinks such as the Fuzzy Navel, Peppermint Patty, Guillotine and the Slippery Nipple to name but a few names.
Schnapps came into being in the 16th century, after an attempt by monks of the time to study the medicinal values of the beverage. The first schnapps was made in Germany, where the name translates to "Mouthful" and later on in Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. Schnapps today is perceived as a fruit brandy and is normally drunk neat, particularly in Northern Europe and other parts of the world.
It is very easy to make homemade schnapps. Originally, you would distill it from a fermented fruit juice or whole fruit, but most parts of the world are embracing the act of distilling it from a fruit brandy, then adding artificial flavoring and sugar. You can simply steep your herbs together with the fruits in an alcohol base of your choice (such as Danish Schnapps, a pure grain alcohol or vodka) and sweeten it and flavor the end product as desired.
To say the least, flavored schnapps are very tasty and what is more, home made flavored schnapps need no special equipment. Flavored schnapps can be taken anytime, either as an aperitif or an after meal drink. It can also be served with any kinds of dishes, both hot and cold, or added to drinks, coffees, teas and foods.
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