If you are a person who enjoys a drink down at the pub or loves trying new alcoholic beverages every now and then, you must have heard of the drink that has enjoyed a recent boom in its popularity i.e. schnapps. Before we begin discussing schnapps and its derivatives, it is important for us to understand some fundamental things about the drink like what the drink is and how does it differ from liqueurs. Consider this your 101 on schnapps, so let’s get right into it.
What Is Schnapps?
As you may have already guessed it by now, the word ‘schnapps’ belongs to the German language. The term is used to define all clear brandies. When I use the word ‘clear,’ I mean white. Furthermore, for a drink to be classified as schnapps, it must also be distilled from fruits that have been properly fermented. It is also worth noting that ‘true’ or ‘pure’ schnapps has no added sugar. Yes, you read that right; if you want to taste pure schnapps, don’t expect it to be sweet or easily drinkable. This makes the clear brandy something of an acquired taste and to be perfectly honest with you, the drink tastes better than its sweetened (watered down) counterpart.
Difference Between Schnapps and Liqueurs
For some reason, there seems to be a lot of confusion between the two drinks. People often mix up the two and end up ordering one when they wanted to try out the other. I think this stems from the fact that people simply aren’t educated on the topic and think of the two words as interchangeable. So under this section, I will be looking to set the record straight and explain in no uncertain terms the difference between the two.
The first thing that I want you to remember is that the two words (i.e. schnapps and liqueurs) are not synonyms of each other. Yes, no matter what your bartender tells you at the pub, the two drinks are quite different from each other. While some bartenders may argue that all white brandies come under the category of schnapps and in saying so, they may shove an expensive liqueur down your throat, keep in mind the other key characteristics of schnapps that we have discussed above.
When it comes to the difference itself, it is important to remember that the word liqueur is used to describe drinks that are obtained from fruits that are being steeped in alcohol. They key difference between schnapps and liqueurs is that unlike schnapps, in liqueurs, the fruits are already fermented and distilled. If you recall what I said about schnapps earlier, you will remember that it is fermented and distilled themselves. Thus, now we have a clear difference between the two drinks and I hope that you won’t accept a liqueur when you order a schnapps at the pub and the bartender gets you the latter.
Now that we have looked at the key characteristics of schnapps and the fundamental difference between its close relative (i.e. liqueurs), it’s time we turn our attention to the different derivatives of the drink. In this section, we will be looking at one of the most popular drinks on the planet i.e. peppermint schnapps.
The first thing that I want you to know about peppermint schnapps is that it differs from the ordinary schnapps in the sense that it is quite mild, reinvigorating, and delicate. What I enjoy about this drink is that it perfectly suffices as a standalone drink and even tastes great when served with lamb, fresh vegetables, cheesecakes, fish, and even low-fat desserts.
If you want to make a peppermint schnapps yourself, I can gladly tell you my recipe. Before we begin, make sure that you have the following ingredients: half a cup of water, one cup sugar, half a teaspoon of peppermint oil, three cups of vodka, and a quart container. Begin the process by making a sugar syrup. The best way to do this is by mixing the water and sugar in a little saucepan and heating the mixture until the sugar has been completely dissolved in the water. Once that’s done, allow the sugar syrup to cool for a few minutes. Then, all you need to do is to get your quart jar (or container) and fill it with the syrup, vodka, and peppermint oil. Put your brew in the refrigerator for a minimum of 14 days and every day before you go to bed, remember to turn the jar upside down. This should help your drink get a consistent taste and trust me, your guests will instantly know the difference in taste and quality.
Peppermint schnapps may be the most well-known derivative of the schnapps family, but to be honest with you, it is not my favorite. That title goes to the delightful and always refreshing peach schnapps. The reason I love peach schnapps is that it goes great together with everything. And trust me when I say everything, I mean it. Peach schnapps tastes good with all kinds of meat such as chicken, mutton, veal, pork, and lamb, and it makes desserts like ice cream, cakes, and pies taste a hundred times batter.
If I have managed to pique your interest, all you want to do right now is to learn to make a glass of the drink yourself. Well, that is a need that can easily be catered to as I have mentioned below my personal recipe of making peach schnapps. I assure you that this drink requires no extraordinary skills or exceptional dexterity on your part. If I can make it, so can you. All you need to do is follow the instructions below to the letter and you will have in your hands the best peach schnapps you have ever tasted.
Begin by getting a dozen normal-sized peaches and start peeling them. I know that people tend to struggle when it comes to peeling peaches, so I recommend soaking them in boiling water beforehand and striking the metal when it is hot. After you have peeled your peaches, it is time to remove the stones and dice the fruit into quarters. Now put the two ingredients in a clear glass jar and fill this jar completely with unflavored vodka. Make sure that the vodka is as clear as it can be because, as we have already discussed above, if you add any flavors or sweeteners, your drink will not be a schnapps anymore. Once you have filled your jar with vodka, peaches, and stones, it is time for you to store your brew in a dark, isolated place. My friends say that the ideal storage time is one month because it gives the drink a natural, sweeter flavor. However, I think that you should not touch the jar for at least 2 months because only then will your infusion be as close to perfection as it can be and you will get to taste a top-notch peach schnapps.
Another drink that has enjoyed a sudden increase in its popularity, especially among millennials, is the blueberry schnapps. What people enjoy about this drink is that everyone falls in love with the taste after just one sip and for a member of the schnapps family, that certainly is a big deal. If you want to know how to make a glass of blueberry schnapps, take a look below.
The best thing about my recipe for making blueberry schnapps is that it does not require a bunch of stuff. All you need for the premium blueberry schnapps taste is about 24 oz of frozen blueberries, a bottle of vodka, water (0.75 liters), and some cups of sugar (as per your taste, but I recommend 5 cups). Once you have these ingredients, you are ready to begin.
Kick things off by slightly cooking the blueberries. Make sure that the heat of the stove is just right so that the natural sweet juices of the blueberry are released and that the flame is not so hot that it burns your blueberries into a crisp. Next, add these slightly cooked blueberries a 2-quart jar and fill the remainder of the jar with vodka. Store this mixture in a dark, cold place for at least two months. After two months, it is time for you to remove the blueberries from your mixture. Once that is done, add the sugar and water that we mentioned earlier in the quart jar. Now it is time for you to play the waiting game. Place your jar in the same cold, dark place for a couple of months before consumption. After reading this recipe, you may be inclined to think that this drink is probably not worth it, but trust me when I say this, you should only judge after you have tried it.
Other Famous Schnapps
I have posted my recipe of three of the best schnapps that you can find on the market today. However, it would be a sin to talk about schnapps and not mention some of the most popular choices (even though I do not personally like them). Of course, I am talking about butterscotch schnapps and cinnamon schnapps.
The biggest beef I have with butterscotch schnapps is that the drink is a bit too sweet for my liking. In my books, schnapps is supposed to be raw (bittersweet), and butterscotch schnapps violates this personal definition. That is the main reason I could never get behind this beverage. On the other hand, cinnamon schnapps is an alright drink that I have tried out a couple of times on my nights out with my friends. But the problem with cinnamon schnapps is just that; it is only alright. It does not make me go nuts with emotion or take my taste buds on a rollercoaster. For me, the drink is too bland, but if you like the drink, more power to you (to each his own and all that represents.)
Where Can You Buy Schnapps?
If you are a person who does not think that they can make your drink even if your life depended on it or if you just do not like playing the waiting game, fear not for I have you covered. You will be pleased to know that you do not have to wait two to three months to get your hands on a glass of schnapps as most pubs in the big cities carry this beverage. Try asking your local bartender for a schnapps and I am certain that he or she will be happy to oblige.
However, if your local pub does not stock schnapps, even then you have nothing to worry about as there are many businesses that sell premium quality schnapps online. Make your way over to Beers of Europe and you will find that it keeps every schnapps on the planet in its inventory. I recently ordered a bottle of Lutje Minze Pfefferminz (Peppermint Schnapps) from that website and honestly felt that it was one of the best drinks I had had in quite a while. The bottle that I ordered was available for a decent price of 29.99 GBP. If you feel that its prices are a bit too steep, you can also buy from Ace Spirit which sells a bottle of butterscotch schnapps for just 18.99 USD.
At the end of the day, my favorite members of the schnapps family are the peppermint, peach, and blueberry schnapps. These drinks I highly recommend trying at least once because they are too good to pass up. So the next time you are at the pub and feeling a bit adventurous, I want you to try a schnapps if not for anything, then just for the experience. Trust me, you will end up loving the drink. And even if you don’t, what harm could a clear brandy possibly do to you?