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What is apple schnapps?

In general, schnapps is a distilled spirit that’s made with fruit or has fruit flavors added. Schnapps is a broad international category of spirits that encompasses many different styles. In the US, apple schnapps is usually a sweet, low proof spirit that can be flavored with anything from sour green apple to peppermint. In Germany, most schnaps is a clear, unsweetened fruit brandy traditionally made from fruits, including apples.

Where does apple schnapps come from?

People make fruit brandies all across Europe, and schnapps originated in Germany. Spelled with one p, schnaps is the German word for an unsweetened spirit distilled from fruit. In Germany, these traditional fruit brandies are made from apples, cherries, plums, pears, and apricots. It’s similar to the Italian spirit grappa, or eau de vie from France. Technically, the word schnaps also can refer to any kind of high-proof distilled spirit in Germany. Most of the apple schnapps from the United States is made by mixing unflavored grain spirits with sugar syrup and fruit flavoring.

What’s the difference between American schnapps and German schnaps?

The most significant differences between American and German schnapps lie in the sugar level, the amount of alcohol, the way they’re made, and the range of flavors. American schnapps is a sweet flavored liqueur that’s just 30 to 40 proof (15 to 20% alcohol) that can come in come in many flavors from sour apple to watermelon to butterscotch. German schnaps is an unsweetened 80-proof brandy traditionally made from apples, pears, or stone fruit.

How is schnapps made?

In the old days, schnapps was made by fermenting apples into an alcoholic cider and then distilling that to make alcohol. Today most schnapps is made by mixing apple or fruit flavors with a neutral distilled grain spirit.

What is the best apple schnapps?

In the US, some of the best-loved apple schnapps is made by DeKuyper, which is actually a Dutch company that was founded in 1695. As the company grew, they formed a partnership with Jim Beam in the US to produce flavored schnapps liqueurs, including Sour Apple Pucker. Spirit purists might prefer an artisanal apple brandy that’s distilled from actual fruit. Explore classically made apple brandies by Fidelitas Obstler in Germany, Dampfwerk in Minnesota, Alpengold Edelbrand in Texas, and Door County in Wisconsin.

Is schnapps the same as liqueur?

A liqueur is a sweet spirit and usually a lower proof compared to other spirits like vodka. Some schnapps is sweet, so it can be called a liqueur, but some schnapps is made without sugar so that they wouldn’t fall under that category. Most apple or sour apple schnapps can be considered a liqueur.

Does sour apple schnapps have alcohol?

Sour apple schnapps has such a delicious green apple candy flavor, you may not notice the alcohol. But sour apple schnapps does have a modest amount of alcohol, usually about 20 to 30 proof, which means it’s 10 to 15% alcohol.

What's in an apple martini?

An apple martini is one of the easiest and fastest cocktails to make since it has just three ingredients: apple schnapps, vodka, and lemon juice. Get the exact measurements from our Sour Apple Martini recipe.

If you like an apple martini, try out this Caramel Apple Martini; just swap sour apple schnapps for the apple pie liqueur.

What are the most popular brands of apple schnapps?

Total Wine & More carries many different kinds of apple schnapps, apple vodka, and apple brandies. Here are some of the best ones to explore:

Browse our full selection of apple schnapps and spirits and take home a couple of bottles to create your cocktails.

Want to learn more about schnapps?

Visit our Guide to Cordials and Liqueurs to learn more about apple schnapps, and other sweet fruit spirits.