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We were recently introduced to two traditional Italian drinks: grolla and vin brulé. These drinks are perfect to enjoy after dinner and especially on a cold night. To enjoy these drinks at home check out the grolla recipe and vin brulé recipe below.

Recipe for Grolla and Vin Brulé

Lago Santa Monica Joe and Kait

Grolla Recipe

Made with grappa, espresso, brandy, sambuca, sugar and lemon, this grolla really packs a punch. Strong alcohol flavor from the grappa with notes of bitterness rounded out with subtle sweetness from the sugar cubes and a bright finish from the lemon peel. As grappa fans, we really enjoyed this drink.

Ingredients per person

1 shot espresso
1 oz. Grappa
1/2 oz. Brandy
1/4 oz. Sambuca
2 sugar cubes
1 lemon twist

Heat all the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil, stir occasionally to make sure all sugar has dissolved. Pour into the friendship cup and coat rim of cup with sugar.

Serve flambe style by lighting the grolla on fire to melt the sugar on the rim.

What is Grolla?

Grolla is a traditional northern Italian drink that is served warm in a hand carved “friendship cup”. This special drink is meant to be shared and enjoyed amongst friends. It’s said that if the cup is emptied, those who drank from the cup will be bound together forever. Be careful who you invite to drink from the spout.

The beautiful hand carved cup we drank from had two spouts with sugar around the rim. Before we drank the grolla, the lid was removed and the alcohol was lit on fire to melt the sugar around the rim of the cup.

Grolla in friendship cup

Vin Brulé Recipe

Vin brulé is the Italian version of mulled wine. This would be the perfect drink to enjoy sitting in front of a fire while the snow is falling outside. The Italian restaurant was kind enough to share their vin brute recipe with us which is posted below.

Ingredients per person

5 oz. cabernet sauvignon
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
5 sugar cubes
1 lemon twist
1 orange twist

Heat all the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil, stir occasionally to make sure all sugar has dissolved. Pour through a filter into heat proof glass and serve.

Vin brule aka mulled wine

The version we had at the restaurant was cooked inside a cast iron pot used to make the polenta we ordered. Without washing the pot, the red wine was poured in with cinnamon, cloves, cinnamon, sugar with lemon and orange peel. Subtle flavors from the buttery polenta could be detected in the drink.

What are some of your favorite drinks to enjoy by the fire?

Check out this Old Fashioned we discovered in NYC.