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Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Spirit Award for Best Cocktail Writing

Continuum Distilling Grappa (Blanco) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
Continuum Distilling Grappa
Master Distiller and Founder Brandon Collins, of Continuum Distilling in Waterbury, Connecticut has a new baby - Continuum Distilling Grappa, to add to his growing spirits house that includes his flagship Charred, Drops, and Blueberry ContinuRum, among others. His latest foray is making Grappa, the Italian brandy made with grape skins from nearby Hawk Ridge Winery. We visited Continuum Distilling and tasted their Continuum Distilling Special Release Grappa Blanco as well as their Barrel-Aged Grappa and they were delicious! We brought a bottle of the Grappa Blanco home and created some very tasty recipes for you to enjoy. Cheers!


Continuum Distilling GrappaMaster Distiller and Founder Brandon Collins is the creative genius behind the inspired line of spirits at Continuum Distilling. He has a master's degree in chemistry, worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 13 years before deciding to make a change. He worked at Black Hog Brewing in Oxford, Connecticut and became intrigued with the idea of using "beer trimmings" that would normally be discarded to create whiskey as "all whiskey starts as beer." In 2019, he founded his dream, Continuum Distilling where he indeed uses "beer trimmings" from local craft breweries to craft his unique and very tasty spirits.  

Always in the distilling room creating something different, Brandon released Continuum Distilling Grappa on January 23, 2021, and it is another jewel in the Continuum crown of spirits. We visited Continuum Distilling on Sunday, January 31, 2021 and tried both the clear and aged versions, and both were delicious. The clear has the aromatic nose and taste that brings back memories of visits to Italy. The barrel aged version, aged for over 8 months in used bourbon barrels with additional wood staves, has a rich, burnished color, picks up the notes of the wood, and has a sweet finish.  

Although both versions are delicious, we opted for the unaged grappa, and Luxury Experience was "In the Kitchen and Behind the Bar" TM creating hand-crafted cocktails and culinary recipes with this tasty spirit! Cheers!  

Bottle Notes: (Blanco), Special Release Grappa, batch #002, 45 Alcohol by Volume (ABV), 90 proof.  

Information and Tasting Notes: Continuum Distilling Grappa is a clear and delectable brandy made in Connecticut from rehydrating and fermenting grape skins from nearby Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown. Grappa is best served chilled in a tulip-shaped glass to elicit the heady aromatic notes, with fresh grape essence that finishes with a delectable slight sweetness on the palate.  

Luxury Experience Cocktail and Culinary Menu  

The Cocktail Menu


Luxury Experience - The Passionate Grape
Luxury Experience - CT Ingenui-Tea
Luxury Experience - Grappa, Cherry, Hot Chocolate 


The Culinary Menu

Luxury Experience - Grappa Sour Cherry Almond Chicken


The Cocktail Recipes

Luxury Experience - The Passionate Grape - photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience - The Passionate Grape
Yield: 1
Glass: Martini Glass 

Luxury Experience - The Passionate Grape keeps the alcohol in the grape family by combining Continuum Distilling Grappa, VARA Garnacha 2018 wine, and kisses the grapes with Goya Passionfruit juice. Dressed smartly with sugared grapes, this may become your favorite new cocktail.  

Luxury Experience - The Passionate Grape Ingredients

Goya Passionfruit Juice
Sugared Grapes on a skewer, garnish

Method for the Sugared Grapes: Wash and dry grapes. Set aside. Whip 1-tablespoon egg white with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Skewer grapes, dip in the egg white mixture, then roll in sugar and let dry on a parchment paper. Make ahead and set aside.  

Method for the Cocktail: Fill a Martini glass with ice and water and set aside to chill. Empty the glass just before pouring in the cocktail to keep the glass icy cold.  

In a mixing glass, add 2 ice cubes, Continuum Distilling Grappa, VARA Garnacha, and the Goya Passionfruit juice. Stir to combine the ingredients and let the ice melt. This cocktail is stirred not shaken in homage to the grapes. Garnish with sugared grapes on a skewer.  

Luxury Experience - CT Ingenui-Tea - photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience - CT Ingenui-Tea
Yield: 1
Glass: Rocks Glass 

Luxury Experience - CT Ingenui-Tea is a tribute to the ingenuity of CT distillers and wineries. The cocktail is made with Continuum Distilling Grappa made from grape skins from CT's nearby Hawk Ridge Winery, HUM Ginger Oolong + Peach Hard Seltzer from Black Hog Brewing Co. (5.5% ABV) where Brandon Collins got his start.  

Luxury Experience - CT Ingenuity Ingredients 

Orange Juice
Fresh Lemon Juice
Homemade Ginger Simple Syrup
Fresh Ginger, garnish

Method for the cocktail: To a mixing glass, add the Continuum Distilling Grappa, HUM Ginger Oolong + Peach Hard Seltzer, orange juice, lemon juice, and homemade ginger simple syrup. Stir to combine and pour into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of fresh ginger.  

Method for the Ginger Simple Syrup: Add one-half cup of water and one-half cup of sugar to a saucepan. Slice ginger into long slices. Add to saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is clear. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove ginger slices to a plate to use as garnishes. Refrigerate ginger simple syrup in a covered glass jar until ready to use. This simple syrup makes a delicious addition to marinades, brushed on cake layers before frosting for super moist cake, or as a sweetener for tea or lemonade.  

Luxury Experience - Grappa, Cherry, Hot Chocolate - photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience - Grappa, Cherry, Hot Chocolate
Yield: 1
Glass: Chocolate Cup or Mug       

Luxury Experience - Grappa, Cherry, Hot Chocolate is a rich and decadent adults-only hot chocolate that is enhanced with Continuum Distilling Grappa, Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate, Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters, and Bodrato Chocolate Covered Grappa-Soaked Cherries imported by Italian Imports & Beyond. When we tasted these chocolate grappa cherries made by the famous award-winning Italian chocolatier Bodrato in Novi Ligure the "Chocolate Capital" of Italy, we were inspired to create a hot sipping chocolate, add the smooth and delicious Continuum Distilling Grappa, and add a Bodrato Chocolate Grappa Cherry to slowly melt in the hot chocolate. The result is absolutely delicious! Note: Bodrato makes these delectable chocolate covered grappa cherries and offers them in white, milk, and dark chocolate options, each in their own individual box.  

Luxury Experience - Grappa, Cherry, Hot Chocolate Ingredients

Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate
Half & Half (or Light Cream)
Bodrato Milk Chocolate Grappa Cherry

Method: In a small saucepan, heat the Half & Half or light cream. Add the Trader Joe's Sipping Chocolate to a mixing glass, pour the hot Half & Half over the chocolate and stir to thoroughly combine. Return to saucepan, heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat, then add the Continuum Distilling Grappa, and Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters. Pour into a chocolate cup or mug. Just before serving, place the Bodrato chocolate cherry in the hot chocolate and enjoy.  

The Culinary Recipe

Luxury Experience - Grappa Sour Cherry Almond Chicken - photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience - Grappa Sour Cherry Almond Chicken
Serves 2

Luxury Experience - Grappa Sour Cherry Almond Chicken combines the richness of Marabissi Il Panforte Torta Amerene e Peperoncino (Sour Cherries and Chili "Cake") imported by Italian Products & Beyond with Continuum Distilling Grappa to create a delectable sauce for the baked chicken, then tops it with crumbled gorgonzola for an amazing pairing. The Sour Cherries and Chili Cake is like a fruit and nut pâté, that also has cocoa, almonds, and honey that was perfect to pair with chicken.  

Serve the chicken breasts on a bed of braised fennel and Trader Joe's Whole Durum Wheat Couscous with the addition of chopped fennel and onions, and you have a memorable, yet easy to make dinner. Bon Appetit!  

Luxury Experience - Grappa Sour Cherry Almond Chicken Ingredients 

7.5 ounce
Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
Marabissi Il Panforte Torta Amerene e Peperoncino, chopped
Chicken Bouillon (or chicken stock)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Gorgonzola, crumbled
Fennel Bulb, sliced
Onion, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Trader Joe's Whole Durum Wheat Couscous
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Fennel Fronds, garnish

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). 

Add the chicken bouillon to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the chopped sour cherries and chili "cake," lower to a simmer, and stir occasionally until mixture is smooth and the "cake" has dissolved, about 8-10 minutes. Check and add salt and pepper to taste.  

Line a baking dish with parchment. Place chicken on the parchment paper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, wrap parchment securely like an envelope, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.  

Method for the Braised Fennel: While chicken is cooking, braise the fennel in a large sauté pan with 1-tablespoon EVOO and salt and pepper. Cover, and steam the fennel by adding 2-ounces of water to the pan. Just before water evaporates, remove the cover to finish cooking.  

Method for the Couscous: Heat a medium saucepan, add 2-tablespoons of EVOO, salt and pepper, then add the chopped fennel and onion, cover, and sweat. Add the water and bring to a boil, then add the couscous, stir to combine, remove from the heat, and set aside.  

Remove chicken from the parchment paper, over loosely with foil, and set aside. Pour the juices from the chicken into a small saucepan. Mix 1-teaspoon with a small amount of the juices and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened to create the sauce.

Presentation: Place the fennel and couscous on two plates. Top each with a chicken breast. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with crumbled gorgonzola and fennel fronds. Bon Appetit

We hope that you enjoy trying Luxury Experience's cocktail and culinary recipes, and that they inspire you to create your own recipes. Cheers, its cocktail time!  

A Few of Continuum Distilling Exceptional Craft Spirits Product Line: 

Continuum Distilling GrappaContinuum Distilling Grappa Blanco and Aged Grappa are made with grape skins from nearby Hawk Ridge Winery. The unaged version is 45% alcohol (90 proof) and the barrel aged version, aged in Bourbon barrels with extra wood staves is 47.2 % (94.4 proof). Grappa Blanco retails for $40 for a 750 ml bottle, the barrel-aged version retails for $65 for a 750 ml bottle.  


Continuum Distilling ContinuRumContinuRum, a unique craft rum, made with 100% blackstrap molasses. 45% alcohol (90 proof), available in 750 ml at $30 bottle.  


Continuum Distilling CharredCharred, their flagship "beer whiskey" made from brown ales, stouts & porters. Aged on local wood staves for a rich toasted flavor. 48% alcohol by volume (96 proof), available in 375 ml ($30 bottle) and 750 ml ($55) bottles.  


Continuum Distilling DropsDrops, distilled from CT crafted IPAs, double-distilled and unaged, which gives it its characteristic "floral, bright and hoppy flavor" with hop forward nose, herbaceous, citrus, and floral notes. 46% alcohol by volume (92 proof). Drops retails for $35 for a 750 ml bottle.  


Read about Touring Continuum Distilling, Charred, Drops, and Blueberry ContinuRum with more great Luxury Experience's Culinary and Cocktail Recipes in the Liquor Cabinet section.  

Background Information on Continuum Distilling  

Continuum Distilling Team
Head Distiller Brandon Collins, Jim Baronowski,
Jason Sobocinski, Tyler Jones, Tom Sobocinski

"Usually, distiller's beer is comprised of only the most basic grains with the purpose of extracting the most sugar possible to obtain an optimal efficient conversion into alcohol.  We discovered that there are multiple steps in the brewing process where ingredients, such as sugars, fermented out beer with yeast in suspension, and flavorful solids can all be recouped and repurposed for distilling.  It would be extremely expensive to attempt to recreate these flavors as beers and distill them for a spirit, but when these delicious compounds can be utilized using disposed waste or "trimmings" from the brew process...that is when sustainability and innovation marry to make something exceptional! Continuum strives to be resourceful in our process by minimizing our usage of raw materials, repurposing items/equipment for the distilling and aging process and limiting our water consumption to produce truly unique and exceptional spirits with as little footprint as possible."  

For more information on Continuum Distilling, purchasing their products, or visiting them in Waterbury, Connecticut, please call them at +1-203-725-3291 or visit their website: 

Continuum Distilling -Continuum Distilling Products - photo by Luxury Experience

Continuum Distilling
2066 Thomaston Avenue (next to Brass Works Brewing)
Waterbury, Connecticut 06704
United States
Telephone: +1-203-725-3291
Email:        This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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© February 2021. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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