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Husband's lovely friends are having a "Schnapps" Christmas party to which each guest must bring a bottle of you guessed it. For reasons to innumerable to mention here (but which might include the service of only Mad Dog and cases of Natural Ice at their last soiree), I am not sad to say that I am not attending (nor is DH, we'll be out of town...what a pity) but I am going to drop off a bottle of schnapps on our way to the airport (then run like hell). (Yes, the Christmas party circuit has begun).

Now...I know nothing of schnapps other than having seen Goldschlager around and having had some excellent hot cocoa once at a tailgate made with butterscotch schnapps.

Are schnapps strictly mixers? What would one do with all this stuff....doesn't it seem kinda...syrupy? Also, a brief online search brought up a staggering variety of flavors and brands. Is there any superior product?

I'm sort of a scotch whiskey gal and am tempted to buy the cheapest thing I could find, but on the other hand I don't want to be a Grinch.

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  1. Schnapps are actually quite good if you are a wise consumer. The "schnapps" you find in the Dekuyper (sp?) bottles is all artificial and yes, syrupy. I'd call them inferior. Those are mostly for mixing at 15% ABV for instance. I'm not familiar with good brands because they are not as popular here in the US, as I understand it. I've had good pear schnapps that a friend brought back from Germany a few years ago - can't remember if it was a German brand or not - and it was a high proof gem. Anyway, they can get pretty pricey. If your friends are looking to have a party where the schnapps is a joke (you mentioned the MD & Natural Lite) they have missed the point... and the joke's on them! ;-)

    1. I'm afraid that the emphasis at this party will be quantity and not quality, as is usually the case. HaagenDazs, I had a pear liqueur a few years ago in Canada that was wonderful, and the name escapes. I know it was a clear spirit.

      Do you, or any other hounds know, what is the difference between a schnapps and a liqueur? Apart from the quality, what would separate a Hot Damn! or a peppermint schnapps from say, chartreuse or curacao?

      1 Reply
      1. re: thegolferbitch

        I'm not sure, I'm just adding my thoughts: Schnapps is made strictly from fruit and is simply a particular type of alcohol. A liqueur is a broad, generic term for a category of spirits. Chartreuse, B&B, Chambord, Grand Mariner, are all in this category. They are high quality liqueurs distilled and infused with real botanicals, not a mix of flavoring agents like the lower quality DeKuyper.

        The cinnamon or peppermint "schnapps" you are referring to are a relatively recent invention, in my opinion. They are made for mixing or shooting straight as a get drunk quick, party type of spirit. These are very likely chock full of artificial ingredients. Rumple Mintz is probably a higher quality, but I may be completely wrong about that. Just ask yourself, "could I have seen Grandpa drinking it?" If so, it's probably good quality... unless Grandpa was a drunkard who liked shooting cinnamon schnapps before he went to bed.

      2. Hey, how'd you know about my grandpa? No, I'm kidding...he was, however, as a chowhound from the Old Country, a huge peaches-in-red-wine-before bed kinda guy. That's another topic!

        Your description makes sense. I will probably go with the Rumple Mintz. This is a peppermint spirit, I'm guessing? Other than the ubiquitous red wine and scotches, I can remember Drambuie (for the rusty nails) and Galliano on our shelves. But it seems a good time of year to maybe try something minty.

        4 Replies
        1. re: thegolferbitch

          Rumple Mintz is quite the minty beverage! It's not the cheapest on the shelf, but I personally think Marie Brizzard makes a fine alternative if you're looking to save a few bucks. Be sure and throw it in the freezer before your delivery, and suggest they do the same. Of all the bottles these goodtimers are likely to finish, I'd guess it would be this one... A man can only take so many sugary blue pineapple froo-froo drinks ;-)

          1. re: thegolferbitch

            Our current favorite is Das Komet. It's a wonderful vanilla schnapps that goes down so softly and is perfect as a nighcap just before crawling in bed on a cold winter night. I don't often see it, was surprised to find a bottle on sale in a local grocery the other night. Of course I wouldn't give that away, jeeze I don't even share that with anyone but DH!

            1. re: Fanciesmom

              FYI: Das Komet is made by the same folks that make Rumple Mintz!

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Ahhh yes, small wonder we like it. Funny though, I like the vanilla better than the mint.

          2. TGB, Here's a suggestion for your husband's party based upon a surrealistic experience I had in Bavaria: Fill large ice tea glasses almost one half full of white wine; add carbonated mineral water to almost fill the other half. Then pour in a jigger of (non flavored) schnapps to each glass. Give a glass to each guest and then set your kitchen timer for 60 minutes. You'll be amazed what happens in an hour.

            1. So... what exactly is non-flavored schnapps? Sounds like Everclear or Golden Grain?

              1. TGB...not sure if DH's friends have that many brain cells to spare to begin with (I'm sorry, is it catty in this sentence or is it me? Oh it's me) Everclear story--a couple of years ago I was experimenting with making limoncello and other homemade spirits and was warned against using Everclear! Very kindly guy in a liquor store in the North End of Boston...being dead serious.

                Fanciesmom, I am thrilled with your suggestion. I live in Mass and hope finding it won't be a problem. Both Rumpel and Comet sound delicious.

                1 Reply
                1. re: thegolferbitch

                  Good luck finding it. I'd have a hard time giving it away - I don't even share it! LOL A friend who used to own a bar gave us our first bottle - it was a freebie and she didn't like it. Her loss - my obsession!!!!

                2. I recommend bringing one of your own so you can show off something totally different (commercial peppermint schnapps kinda makes me feel ill). It can take as little as a day to make, and you can adjust the sweetness, or omit it all together if you want (uh, honey being the exception). Previous post, with link to the website I use: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/321563

                  1. In the US, schnapps is basically a catch-all term for high-alcohol sugar syrup with, most
                    often mint or cinnamon flavoring. In this class, there's really exactly zero between the
                    highest and lowest qualities. Goldschlager tries to differentiate itself by adding gold.
                    Which should tell you something.

                    In Germany, schnaps is a generic term for clear, distilled alcohol. The equivalent of
                    russian vodka and italian grappa. Sometimes with a light but distinct fruit flavor
                    component. Never with added sugar.

                    Varieties include Obstler, which is distilled from fruit, Braumeister from beer,
                    Williamsbirne made out of pears. At their best, these can be very, very good.
                    At their worst, they're better (and you'll regret it less the next day) than anything
                    from the sweet/minty/cinnamon aisle at the liquor store.