“Schnaps” in German is the generic term for all burned spirits. It can be distilled from grain, potatoes, fruits, or herbs and is normally clear and colourless. It is drunk after very rich food as an digestive after-dinner drink. Germans also love to drink it in combination with a beer. The most common Schnapps – at least in northern Germany – is called “Korn”. It is made from rye, wheat, or mixed grains. There are also flavoured korns. After distillation korn is aged in vats, much the same as whisky. Two popular korn brands are “Doornkaat” and “Fürst Bismarck”.
The “Obstlers” are also clear spirits. They are distilled from fruit such as cherries (“Kirschwasser”), raspberries (“Himbeergeist”) or pears (“Birnenschnaps”). The centre of German fruit spirit distilleries is Oberkirch in Baden, where almost 900 small distilleries are located.
Sweet spirits are called “Likör”. Per definition German liqueurs must contain minimum 100 g sugar per litre. Clear spirits are normally the base of a liqueur. Wine, water, sugar and fruit syrup or juices are then added. There are hundreds of different brands available. Unique is the “Eierlikör” which is made from eggs. The most famous one is called Verpoorten and comes from Bonn. It is also used as an additive in tarts and desserts and – like all other liqueurs – for cocktail drinks.
German brandy needs to have an alcohol content of 38% or more. It must be aged in oak barrels at least for 12 months. Best known are the brands Asbach Uralt and Dujardin.