When I’m on the road, my drink preferences often skew towards the familiar. This normally results in a boring glass of whiskey or maybe if I’m lucky, a locally produced beer that I’ve managed to get a hold of in NYC; think 312 in Chicago. But last night was a special night on the road as I sat at the bar admiring the crazy list of Grappa in my San Francisco Hotel. I’m not much of a Grappa expert as you might imagine, but I’m lucky to have some friends who know a thing or two about this delicious spirit. So there I was, telling my bar-mates about a delicious blend of Grappa and Chamomile when BOOM! The bartender showed up with three glasses of Milla on the house, which after another taste is probably the way all nights out should come to an end.
Milla, a chamomile infused grappa is quite possibly the most insanely delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Paolo Marolo started his distillery in 1977 with an eye towards crafting a trans-formative high-end liqueur. Grappa is made by distilling the pomace, or the leftover bits from the wine fermentation process. The skins, the seeds, the pulp and the stems all end up contributing, making the quality of the grapes a major factor; so it certainly isn’t a coincidence they set up shop in Piedmont. But Marolo’s real breakthrough is rooted in something near and dear to my heart. By infusing herbs into his Grappa he manages to create a truly unique offering that is somehow familiar and exotic all in the same.
Milla is created through an 11 month chamomile steep. The fully ripened and dried leaves have plenty of time to impart their comforting flavor notes and the outcome is spot on. You can’t help but relax as you sip away on this amazing example of thoughtful production. You should get a bottle of this stuff immediately. In the meantime, feel free to order a glass wherever you see it!