Introducing different cuisines from the Alps region
The Healing Power of Schnapps
Schnapps is a general term used for an assortment of white and flavored spirits that have originated in northern countries or regions such as Germany. Schnapps can be made from grain, potatoes, or molasses and be flavored with virtually anything.
After indulging in calorific heaps of meat and carbs, what could serve as a better digestive for the system than a few ounces of Jagermeister or Obstler? Normally served after heavy dinner meals, drinking schnapps has earned its place as one of the most commonly practiced German customs. Not just for having after meals however, throwing back a shot of schnapps is considered by many Germans as a perfectly viable solution to the problem of digestive issues – perfect for someone who is suffering from an unsettled stomach. Many blends of schnapps include herbs and spices, and can be based on a variety of fruits such as pear, plum, or cherry. The pairing of medicinal herbs with the strong power of hard alcohol is an effective treatment in the eyes of many Germans who would much rather trust in a bottle over pharmaceuticals when their systems are in need of a boost.
It started in medieval Europe as medical concoctions and aphrodisiacs, became popular among the nobility and today can be seen in any bar.
Many cordials can trace their roots back to the apothecaries of the 15th and 16th centuries. These were used as medicines, prescribed to invigorate the body, settle the stomach, and cure diseases. Some were considered aphrodisiacs, which made them very much sought after among the nobility. Some even had gold flakes or pearls added as these precious ingredients were considered a great help in preventing disease.
These early concoctions were usually based on botanicals and spices. They were called“surfeit waters”, and were thought to help settling one’s stomach after feasting. Benedictine, which is thought to be one of the oldest, can trace its roots back to the early 15th century, to a Benedictine monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli. The recipe, with its top secret blend of 27 botanicals and spices, is still zealously guarded today.
These cordials arrived in England in the late 15th century where they were taken for their medicinal effects.By the 18th century they were very popular amongst the aristocracy – more so for their intoxicating effects than any alleged medicinal purposes.
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