The word "schnapps" (from the German Schnappen, to snap) refers to a mixture of vodka, gin, brandy or other spirit. In Scandanavia the word is snaps and almost always means Akvavit. In the U.S. the term has taken on a new meaning to identify a whole new generation of intensely flavored, sweet, inexpensive liqueurs of moderate strength (22 to 30% alcohol by volume). The Dekuyper brands of Applebarrel and Peachtree schnapps, while not the first in the U.S market,are generally credited with launching the schnapps craze due to a technical breakthrough that yielded a fresh rather than cooked fruit flavor. Other flavors such as cola, cinnamon, rootbeer, tropical(hot shot), butter scotch, strawberry hazelnut, lemonade, apricot, peppermint, blueberry, bubble gum, tequila, and numerous others are making the schnapps a dominant force in the liqueur market. The most unique schnapps has to be Gold schnapps, which is peppermint schnapps with very fine flakes of gold foil added in.
(alc. 24-35%) Using plain spirit as the base, these products have been flavoured and sweetened to create a relatively new category of liqueurs. Peach is still the most popular flavour but others such as apple, orange, peppermint and root-beer have also appeared and just as quickly disappeared.
Taken from the German word for "snap" it traditionally refers to small amounts of spirits ( usually vodka or brandy) consumed neat , in one quick gulp. Over time it has also come to refer to the collection of flavoured ( generally sweet) liqueurs featuring fruit flavours such as apple and peaches. Other flavours such as butterscotch and cinanamon have been created opening a new market and growing the category known as Schnapps.