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After a hearty alpine meal, possibly a little heavy on melted cheese or potatoes, you will most likely be offered one of the following. Why not try the locals’ favourite digestif? It’ll certainly give you a warm glow. For every town in the Alps, these liquors are the answer to many a malaise. Here’s our guide to eight mountain spirits you need to try during a cold snap.
This popular mountain liquor can be found in every establishment in the Savoy region in France and Italy, made from the aromatic Artemisia plant, which is more commonly known as wormwood and has plenty of medicinal values. Usually consumed as a digestif, the pungent smell might be too much for some, although leaving the sprigs in the bottle does add to its flavour.
This distilled alcohol comes in either a distinct green or a yellow colour. The green liquor consists of 130 types of herbs, plants and flowers, while the yellow has a less pungent taste and is a little sweeter.
A fruity brandy made with the sour morello cherries, you may have come across it in cakes and desserts. Unlike most cherry liqueurs, this one is not a sweet treat, some of the top kirschwassers have a subtle hint of bitter-almond which comes from the cherry stones.
Found in Italy, Grappa is a fragrant grape based brandy, although, it’s high alcohol percentage makes it quite firewater-esque. There are many different flavours, some of which are fruity and fabulous, others an acquired taste, such as pepper grappa.
Schnapps, also know as paint stripper, is an extremely strong liquor so take it steady! Not to be confused with the alcopop Archers peach schnapps, it is a distilled spirit that is common in the mountains and the herbal concoctions are said to have health benefits, you will also find numerous flavours.
This Italian herbal liqueur has a yellow colouring due to the inclusion of saffron in its ingredients and is enjoyed after dinner. With a long history dating back to 1860, it has been tried and tested over the years with around 70 ingredients, including mint and fennel. Strega can also be used in a Torta Caprese.
A digestif amaro, Branca Menta was created in the mid 1960s when mint syrup was added to the classic Fernet Branca to make it sweeter. Swedish skiers favour this shot over the other traditional varieties.
This Italian digestif is similar to other liqueurs that have been produced throughout Europe, such as Kräuterlikör in Germany. Composed of mixed alpine herbs, bark, roots, flowers and / or citrus peels, it sometimes has a smoky taste.