Schnapps is a type of distilled beverage. The word Schnapps is derived from the German word Schnaps.
There are two different types of Schnapps. The first one is the traditional German kind. In Germany itself, as well as in Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the spelling Schnapps is virtually unknown and Schnaps, as a purely colloquial term, can refer to any kind of unsweetened distilled beverage. Outside of German-speaking countries, German Schnapps refers to usually clear alcoholic beverages distilled from fermented cereals, roots or fruits, including cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums and apricots. Often, the base material for making schnapps is the pulp that is a by-product in juice production. True Schnapps has no sugar or flavoring added. Traditional German Schnapps is similar in flavor and consistency to vodka, with light fruit flavors, depending on the base material. The alcohol content is usually around 40% by volume or 80 proof.
The second type of Schnapps is of American origin. These distilled beverages are liqueurs, such as peach schnapps and butterscotch schnapps. They can be the result of differing processes that do not involve direct fermentation. Some of these use a primary alcohol, such as schnapps, vodka or rum, to extract flavors out of fruit. Often, additional ingredients are added, most commonly sugar. The alcohol level of these schnapps may be only half that of the German kind, usually around 20% by volume or 40 proof. Because of the wide variety of Schnapps (or Schnapps-imitative) flavours available, it has been spoofed in several ways. In an episode of the program South Park, a fictional flavor called “S’more Schnapps” is released; and in the film Little Nicky one of the characters shows a penchant for Peppermint Schnapps. The 1984 snap election in New Zealand was dubbed the ‘schnapps election’ by Tom Scott, in reference to Prime Minister Robert Muldoon calling the aforementioned election while he was drunk. It’s also mentioned a lot of times on the sitcom Seinfeld, being the key to open Elaine’s “vault”.