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Jun 15, 2007 06:50 PM

QUICK! Somebody help!

In the middle of a recipe that calls for a tablespoon of grappa. Don't have it. What can I substitute???

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  1. Battery Acid?! =) I'm thinking any heavy liquor...
    grappa has a strong, dry taste though..let us know what you I'm curious!

      1. Any liquor that seems like it would go with whatever the rest of the ingredients are. Tell us more maybe we can tell you more. Then again my "secret ingredient" in dozens of things is just vermouth so what the heck do I know?

        1 Reply
        1. re: inuksuk

          Detailed thread that asks and answers this very question about grappa subsitutions and that discusses vodka, brandy (cognac, included), marc, pastis, Pernod and more found at:

          One tablespoon? Don't sweat it a bit. The closest in my mind is vodka, a neutral spirit, but depending on the recipe, just about anything above will work, as well as leaving it out.

        2. If a trip to the store is out of the question, the closet thing you are likely to have in the house would be vodka. But that is a stretch. Unless it is infused, grappa is basically a neutral alcohol but since it is made by squeezing the very last drops of juice out of the pommace it has a slightly unique characteristic that wouldn't really be replecated by anything else. I mean, if you have a bottle of marc in your house that would be really similar (the same product but from France) but I am guessing not....I wouldn't lose any sleep over it in that grappa tends to be a rather rustic beverage (despite the high prices often attached to it as a result of fancy glass bottles) and unless it is a key ingredient, I suspect you'll be fine.

          If you can get to a store but it doesn't have grappa, Ciroc vodka might be closest as it is made from grapes--though it sill isn't exactly the same.

          Good Luck.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ellaystingray

            I dont think that grappa tastes anything like vodka. As weird as it seems, I think that cognac might be closer than anything I can think of althought it is gonna add a slight sweetness that you can counteract.

            Just curious...what is the recipe?

            1. re: chrisinroch

              I'd say it tastes more like Pisco or Tequila.

              1. re: 2top

                Pisco is basically the same thing as grappa...made from grape must. Tequila--totally different! White rum would be closer than tequila.

            2. re: ellaystingray

              I'm sorry but grappa is not made by squeezing pomace. It's a distillation of grape must (often even double- or triple-distilled) and usually the only grappa that is used comes from the middle part of the distillation process; the beginning- and end-stage spirit is not used. If you ever hang out with serious grappa lovers (I am not one, but I have spent many a lengthy evening with some in Italy) you will discover this "rustic" spirit is often quite elegant. But whooo! is it powerful!! Holy mackerel!

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Agreed! Furthermore, grappa is a distilled spirit, not a wine, but . . . ;^)

                1. re: zin1953

                  Was I not clear in saying that grappa was distilled and a spirit? I think that's there....

                2. re: maria lorraine


                  Don't confuse distillation with the primary alcoholic fermentation of the grapes. The tails may be discarded during the distillation process but it is the pomace that is used to provide the raw material for grappa. You wouldn't take the middle part of the wine making process to make grappa....that is the wine. I do hang out with serious grappa people. This is what Jacopo Poli said when I had dinner with him.

                  "The raw material from which Grappa is made is the grape pomace, the skin of the grape, and what is left after the grape is crushed in order to make wine."


                  1. re: ellaystingray

                    "Don't confuse distillation with the primary alcoholic fermentation of the grapes."

                    Nope, I'm not. The two are vastly different processes.

                    "You wouldn't take the middle part of the wine making process to make grappa....that is the wine."

                    Please check...I said "middle part of the distillation process." The best grappa uses the spirit from the mid-stage of distillation only, neither the heads nor the tails. In the best grappas, this mid-stage spirit is distilled again at least once, sometimes twice.

                    Raw materials: In *context* in Italy, the word mosto (must) is used -- referring to both liquid and dry solids after pressing -- the remaining juice inside the skins, skins and seeds. Almost the same thing as pomace, but pomace can include stems, which makes grappa taste harsh. (This may be a translation thing.) Mosto also refers to grape juice.

                    But the mosto or "pomace" isn't squeezed. Or more accurately, artisanal grappa isn't made that way. If it's an industrial "paint thinner" grappa it's squeezed.