Singani is distilled from white Muscat of Alexandria grapes. It is produced only in the Bolivian high valleys and is considered the national liquor of Bolivia and a cultural patrimony. Its character and production methods are closest to eau-de-vie but it is classified as a brandy for purposes of international trade. Singani has been declared a Domain of Origin (Denominación de Origen or DO) and a Geographical Indication (GI) by the Bolivian government.
Singani has been produced since the 16th century shortly after the Spanish arrived in South America. It was first distilled by monastic orders who needing wine for mass found it expedient to also distill. Most sources say the name singani derives from a pre-Columbian village of that name near the mission that first distilled the liquor.
Bolivian regulations in recent decades have codified what has long been practiced, and today the vineyards from which singani is made are to be planted at elevations of 5,250 feet or higher. Singani is thereby known as an altitude product in Bolivian legal terms, the official phrase "of altitude" being also applied to Bolivian wines and grapevine cultivars. Although there are vineyards at elevations much higher than the official minimum, they are difficult to manage, and most production comes from plantations at around 6,000 feet above sea level close to where the wineries and distillation facilities are located.