What Is Smoked Grappa and How to Serve It?

smoked grappa

Bepi Tosolini Smoked Grappa, 40% ABV, is a unique and versatile product, which can be enjoyed in many ways. This is a perfect spirit for those who usually enjoy a peated whisky or even mezcal.

This award-winning smoked grappa is made using artisanal methods, which require a lot of patience, time, and an eye for detail. Let’s look into the production a bit more below.

Grape harvest

Grappa is such a delicate spirit, it must be made at a certain time of the year to guarantee a fresh, flavoursome product. Grappa production should take place during only a few months of the year when the pomace, or vinaccia as the Italians call it, is freshly collected from the winemakers, and ideally within 24 to 48 hours of the wine being drawn off. After that, the skins will begin to ferment and turn. The fresher and softer the pomace is, the better the final grappa will be. 

At Bepi Tosolini, they personally select the noble Friulian red grapes used to make their smoked grappa. It is important to distil only from fresh vinaccia, therefore they can only use grapes from around the distillery to guarantee the best quality. The family has nearly 80 years of reliable relationships with the same suppliers, generation after generation.

Bepi Tosolini distillery
Photo: Distilleria Bepi Tosolini
Grappa production

Made with artisanal methods

The grapes are gently pressed to preserve the juicy pomace. Unlike white grapes, red grapes have already undergone fermentation during winemaking, as the skins are left with the juice to impart the red colour to the wine. It can therefore be distilled immediately without an added fermentation period.

At Bepi Tosolini they have three types of stills: steam batch pot stills, bain-marie pot stills, and “Charante Alembic”. To distil their smoked grappa, they use the original custom-made 100 percent manual alembic steam stills Bepi Tosolini had built many years ago. Once the spirit has been drawn, it is then filtered. The temperature is dropped to −18 degrees Celsius for 24 hours and then the liquid is filtered to obtain a distillate that’s free of impurities.

Bepi Tosolini stills
Photo: Distilleria Bepi Tosolini

The final step is ageing. The distillate is aged for 12 to 18 months in wooden barriques, in this case in 225-litre French oak barriques. These oak casks have been toasted and smoked by burning oak flakes and Kentucky tobacco leaves. It is this step that brings that lovely smokiness to their award-winning smoked grappa.

Bruno Tosolini, the master blender, chooses and blends the spirit from a range of casks and different stages of ageing to ensure a premium quality product. The grappa production is done in small batches using traditional, artisanal discontinuous methods with great care from the distillers. This is the way it has been done since 1943, when the Distillery was founded by the ‘Patriarch of the Alembic’ Mr Bepi Tosolini. 

toasting barrels
Photo: Distilleria Bepi Tosolini

More about making of grappa, see my previous article Grappa Production in Pictures.

Tasting notes

Aroma: sweet smoke, fruity, honey glazed ham, dried fruit

Palate: lovely mouthfeel, it’s soft and almost silky, gentle smoke, saltiness, bacon, tobacco, red apples, light cinnamon spice

Finish: fairly short finish, fruity, oaky, subtle spiciness

Overall, a very enjoyable grappa. The colour is stunning, dark amber. Very different to your classic grappa. There is no harsh burn, and it is in fact, very gentle on the palate. The smoke is not overpowering but adds to the tasting experience. Worth a try!

Bepi Tosolini smoked grappa bottle

How to drink it

Enjoy smoked grappa like you would a single malt whisky. It is best served neat, after a meal as a digestif or as a drink to relax after a long day. Ideally, grappa is served in a stemmed tulip-shaped glass, although you could also use a whisky nosing glass or even a small tumbler. I usually choose my glass based on the experience I am looking for. If I’m trying a new product and want to discover all the aroma and flavour, I use a grappa glass or other small stemmed glass specifically designed for tasting, but if I just want to enjoy a nice drink to relax, I often go for a smaller, heavy-based tumbler as I like the feel of it.

Smoked grappa can also be used in cocktails. Use it like you would a lightly peated whisky. It works with floral syrups like elderflower or herbs such as rosemary or thyme. It also pairs well with dark chocolate.

Bepi Tosolini smoked grappa

Cocktails to try

Smoky Old Fashioned

40ml Bepi Tosolini Smoked Grappa

20ml Rum ( I used Hell or High Water Reserva)

4 drops Angostura Bitters

1 barspoon of Maple Syrup

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a tumbler over a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange peel.

smoked grappa old fashioned

Fire in the Garden

35ml Bepi Tosolini Smoked Grappa

15ml The Starlino Elderflower Aperitivo

15ml Ferdinand’s Rosé Vermouth

5 Green Grapes

Muddle the grapes at the bottom of your shaker before measuring the remaining ingredients. Shake well with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a citrus peel or some grapes.

smoked grappa cocktail

Smoked Espresso Martini

35ml Bepi Tosolini Smoked Grappa

20ml Walnut Amaro


1 barspoon of Maple Syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice and double train into a cocktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans.

smoked grappa espresso martini
grappa espresso martini

Buy from

Master of Malt

The Whisky Exchange

Do you like grappa? Have you tried Bepi Tosolini smoked grappa?

Disclaimer: In paid collaboration with Bepi Tosolini. Some of the links used are affiliate links. If you buy through the links, I may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price for you.

You may also like

Share your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.