is the name in north-west Spain for pomace brandy (a liquor
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...
obtained from the distillation of the solid remains left after pressing of the grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...
). It is a transparent spirit with an alcohol content over 50% (100° proof
Alcohol proof is a measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage. The term was originally used in the United Kingdom and was defined as 7/4 times the alcohol by volume . The UK now uses the abv standard instead of alcohol proof. In the United States, alcoholic proof is defined...
). Its name comes from the expression "aguardiente de orujo" (pomace eau-de-vie).
It is a popular beverage in northwest Spain, especially Galicia, where it is called aguardente or caña
In the Christian New Testament, the Gospel of John refers a number of times to a town called Cana of Galilee.-The marriage at Cana:Among Christians and other students of the New Testament, Cana is best known as the place where, according to the Fourth Gospel, Jesus performed his first public...
, and is an element of collective identity. It is also known in Astúrias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...
, Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was so constituted in 1983 and it comprises the historical regions of León and Old Castile...
, and Cantabria (principally in the valley of Liébana
Liébana is a comarca of Cantabria .It covers 570 square kilometers and is located in the southwest of Cantabria, bordering Asturias, León and Palencia...
), where it has become an artisanal craft for some families who after making wine for themselves distil the pomace in a little pot still
A pot still is a type of still used in distilling spirits such as whisky or brandy. Heat is applied directly to the pot containing the wash or wine . This is called a batch distillation ....
. Many high-quality distilled spirits have appeared in the last twenty years, including some origin appellations (in Spanish D.O.). These are obtained from quality grapes and produced according to the highest standards and are replacing the traditional home made liquor, nowadays only available in small villages.
Orujo's basic ingredient is the residue from wine production. Once the grapes are crushed, the orujos or residue of the grapes can be used to produce the liqueur of the same name. The grape skins, seeds and stalks are fermented in closed vats and then distilled. Stills, called alambiques, alquitaras or potas are traditionally large copper kettles that are heated over an open fire, while a poteiro (orujo distiller) watches over his brew. The distilling process in the alambiques takes 6 hours or more. The copper stills used by Galicians for centuries are thought to have been brought to the Iberian peninsula by the Arabs.
The orujo that is produced by the distillation is a colorless liquor, while the orujo envejecido
or "aged orujo" is amber in color. The aged variety is fermented and distilled the same way, but is then poured into oak barrels to age for at least two years.
Since the 16th century Galicians have made orujo on their farms and take great pride in their liqueur, each family carefully guarding their own secret recipe. However, there are now over 20 commercial producers of orujo within Denominación Específica Orujo de Galicia
, (Denomination Orujo of Galicia,) which was formed in 1989. Although orujo from Galicia is probably the most famous, it is also made in other regions, such as Cantabria. The monasteries in the county of Liébana, Cantabria has been distilling orujo since the Middle Ages. Each November the town of Potes celebrates the Fiesta del Orujo, including tastings and a contest where participants distill orujo in public with their own stills and judges award a prize for the best-tasting batch.
From orujo, Galicians traditionally make a drink called queimada, in which bits of lemon peel, sugar and ground coffee are put into a clay pot. Then the orujo is poured on top and the pot is lit on fire until the flame turns blue. This ancient tradition dates back to Celtic times and includes a ritual where the queimada-maker recites a "spell" as he makes the drink.
Drinks similar to Orujo, although with distinct names and characteristics, are also found in other countries, such as France (marc), Italy (grappa
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume...
), Germany where its name is Tresterschnaps
Pomace brandy is a liquor distilled from pomace. Examples include the Croatian / Montenegrin / Serbian lozovača , Cypriot zivania, French marc, Georgian chacha, German Tresterbrand, Greek tsipouro, Hungarian törköly, Italian grappa, Bulgarian grozdova, Portuguese aguardente, Romanian rachiu de...
, Portugal (known as bagaceira
), Hungary (törkölypálinka
), while in Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus it is the local variant of rakia
Rakia is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by distillation of fermented fruit; it is a popular beverage throughout the Balkans. Its alcohol content is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger . Prepečenica is double-distilled rakia which has an alcohol content that may...
. In Galicia itself it is also sometimes referred to as aguardente, and in the rest of Spain as aguardiente
Aguardiente , aiguardent , aguardente , and augardente are generic terms for alcoholic beverages that contain between 29% and 60% alcohol by volume...
In an attempt to replicate the taste of Orujo, which was an extremely popular drink in the 16th and 17th centuries, in Latin America, the Spanish developed similar liquors. In Peru and Chile it is known as pisco
Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored grape brandy produced in winemaking regions of Chile and Peru. Pisco was developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain...
The term orujo
(in Galician, "bagazo") is also sometimes used as a synonym for the pomace of the grape (prior to distillation).