Schnapps! Even though I grew up in Northern Germany, northwest really, the meaning of 'Schnapps' in the families I remember had a connection with particular working class income groups, or farming communities, where the corner pups or the village inn with their round-tables (Stammtisch) or 'There' were places to gather, play cards, talk politics or plan strikes or other revolutionary measurements against dominance in power.
Ein Bier, ein Schnapps seemed to belong together like hand-in-glove. Schnapps was arrived at by fast distillation of low grade grain varieties. The miners would have a 'korn' and a beer; the 'korn' had a more yellow-brown color but both schnapps and korn were low cost alcoholic drinks, served in small glasses and the men would swallow the stuff in one shot-swallows.
I am not aware of the fact that other, finer and
multi-distilled brandies derived from pears, cherries, plums, enzian and apricots, even 'Herbal
(Krauter) liqueurs, distilled in monasteries,
fall under the classification of schnapps.
A Kirschwasser, Williams-Pear Brandy etc. called
schnapps is totally foreign to me. I envisioned
a misinterpretation by American and other occupying
GI's after WWII, spreading the wrong meaning of the 'common" people's 'get-high' drink (after all germany lost a war and everything was rationed) so, schnapps, now, is being offered in so many forms to a large market of trent-addicts.
It has become confusing to recognize it anymore as 'schnapps'.