Get A Grappa

Dear Readers,

In this column, we explore all the fun things we can do with alcohol: infusion, mixing, adding flavorful syrups or vinegars … so many things. A lot of time, we talk about the history of some of spirits when you email me with questions. I just want to remind you that just because you don’t have a story behind your question, I still answer you right away via email, and just maybe your question will appear in this column!

This month’s cocktail recipe was inspired by a simple email from Margaret in Columbia who asked, “What is grappa?”

Well, dearest Margaret, the simple answer is that it is a type of brandy. Brandy is liquor distilled from wine and other fermented fruit juices. Brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, which means burned wine, or heating of the wine during distillation.

Grappa is made from grapes, grape skins, seeds and sometimes even the stems. It can be made from any grape but Chardonnay is one of the most popular. By itself, it is a strong spirit meant to be sipped neat or on the rocks. It’s usually considered too strong and not suited for most novice palates. However, I enjoy employing spirits that someone doesn’t like in a way that makes him or her like it.

For grappa, I give you the Dionysus Fizz.

Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and ecstasy. So that’s a good thing, right? For this cocktail, we mix grappa, crème de cassis (a black currant liqueur) and ginger beer; garnish with a lime and drink away.

Some of you may have noticed this cocktail at the True/False Film Fest premiere at the glorious Missouri Theatre. I thought it was a great fit for us in Columbia, the city of festivals.


The Dionysus Fizz
1 ounce grappa
½ ounce crème de cassis

Mix in your favorite glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime.

Aaron Brown tends bar at Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar in downtown Columbia and at The Bridge in the North Village Arts District. Every month you can find him in the pages of Inside Columbia, concocting tasty drinks you can make at home. Follow the Fancy Bar Chef on Facebook ( and Twitter (@roontaaron).

aaron browncocktailcocktail recipesThe Dionysus Fizz
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