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!
A bit of news out of Diageo and the drinks brand incubator, Distill Ventures. German entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack are likely toasting with more than a few glasses of their aperitif from the Black Forest.
Diageo this week announced the acquisition of Belsazar GmbH, a premium aperitif from Germany’s Black Forest. Belsazar was launched by entrepreneurs Maximillian Wagner and Sebastian Brack on the Berlin food and drinks scene in 2013. Belsazar is the first company to be acquired by Diageo through Distill Ventures. Read the rest of this entry
Last month I attended Bar Convent Berlin 2017, one of the bar and beverage industry’s largest international trade shows. There was a lot to cram into two days, and even more to try to stuff into a four-and-a-half-minute video. Among the elements that made the cut: The Genever District, Japanese gin and some vodkas that get back to their moonshine-y roots. I also reacquaint myself with some old herbal and bitter favorites that appear in my new book, The Drinkable Globe (Now available! Buy here!)
When it comes to the breweries of Bamberg, German, Schlenkerla tends to get most of the spotlight. And it’s well-earned, especially since it pretty much put rauchbier on the map in the rest of the world. Fässla may not have the international profile of a Schlenkerla, but dare I say, it’s the better brewery (I’m especially partial to the Doppelbock, Bambergator).