When most of us hear the word “schnaps,” we think of those artificially sweetened liqueurs designed for folks who think they like to drink, but really don’t. True, schnaps, however, is an unaged brandy distilled from any number of fruits in German-speaking countries. The schnaps-making capital of the world is Germany’s Black Forest region, home to some 14,000—yes, those three zeroes belong there—farm distilleries. If you want to drink close to the source, you don’t need to go to local bars. You just need to seek out a few of the area’s Schnapsbrunnen (literally, “schnaps fountains”), small, unattended kiosks with fresh-off-the-stills bottles of the spirit, drinking cups or glasses and slotted lockboxes where drinkers can insert a euro or two for the privilege. It’s all on the honor system, but no cheating! You want the distillers to be able to continue to make the stuff, don’t you?
Enjoy the latest episode, which invites you on my schnaps-soaked odyssey through the Black Forest!