Buzz: I thought the Germans were all about beer at Oktoberfest.
Marnie: Beer certainly gets pride of place, but the schnapps get some love, too. In Bavaria, you'll see people walking around the beer tents taking nips from little schnapps bottles hanging around their necks. The term schnapps comes from a German word for "swallow," and it aptly describes how these products are usually drunk - like chilled shots.
Buzz: The original "shot and beer," huh?
Marnie: I don't know that they were the first, but they're certainly upholding an ancient tradition. Schnapps have changed, though. The term originally described any strong spirit, like brandy or whiskey. Now it's associated with fruit brandies and liqueurs. The brandies can be quite dry and distilled from fermented fruits. But the most popular variants are sweeter and less strong, usually diluted with fruit juice.
Buzz: Hmmm. I don't think that's what the guys have in mind for rounds of shots.
Marnie: Maybe not, but the ladies sure love it. I prefer a milder schnapps myself if I'm already drinking beer, something like Berentzen Apple, a traditional "apfelkorn" that combines distilled wheat spirit with fresh apple juice. It tastes delicious and has such low alcohol, I can have two shots instead of limiting myself to one.
Buzz: With shots, I reach my limit when my head hits the bar.
Marnie Old is a local sommelier and
wine author known for practical
advice with real-world relevance.
Her latest digital book for iPads,
Wine Simplified, earned a
publishing innovation award.
Marnie also advises clients in the
beverage and restaurant trades.
Check her out at MarnieOld.com
or follow her on Twitter at
@MarnieOld. Buzz's musings are
interpreted by Daily News Assistant
Managing Editor Gar Joseph.