What Is Brandy?
Did you know that brandy can be made from pear? Now you know! Brandies can be made out of literally any foodstuff that has sugar or starch in it. Brandy is reputed for being classy because of the different interesting forms that it comes in. One of the most popular forms of brandy is the cognac. People often cannot tell the difference between whiskey and brandy, or cognac and brandy, and often use them interchangeably. However, there is a difference between these spirit drinks, and we will discuss it in this article.
We will also examine many more interesting facts in this article to help you understand the exquisite spirit drink called brandy.
Brandy was first made in 1313 in France as a medicinal drink. It was known as a strengthening drink and was called the “water of life” by the physicians around at the time. Later, the French brandy became a means of exchange for services of African canoe men and guards.
To measure the brandy proof then, brandy was poured on gunpowder and set on fire. If the gunpowder could ignite after the spirit is consumed by the lit fire, the liquor was classified as good. And the spirit that killed the gunpowder powers is classified to be above proof. The problem of measuring brandy alcohol content was solved by Clarke, who invented a hydrometer that fixed the proof spirit strength at a gravity of 0.920; the fixed strength of the proof spirit in Great Britain.
Later in the 19th century, almost everyone knew what brandies were because the spirit was already being sold in markets globally.
How Is Brandy Made?
- Fermentation of the juice: the fermentation stage starts the brandy-making process. The grapefruit used in the making is left to ferment in the vats for three to five weeks. The resulting fermented mash produces a high acid wine with less than 16% brandy alcohol content.
- Distillation stage: The fermented juice is heated to bring out the pure form of the brandy. As the fermented juice heats up, the alcoholic vapor is collected in a condenser, where it changes to liquid again. The brandy distillation is done more than once to get the maximum yield of the hearts. The vapor collected by the condenser is divided into three parts. The first 35% are called the foreshots, the next 30% are called the hearts, and the last 30% are the tail. The hearts are the only parts you need as your finished product.
- Aging of the brandy: After distilling, the brandy is stored in oak casks to age. As the brandy age increases, the brandy alcohol evaporates, causing changes in the brandy taste and brandy color.
- Blending: Blending is done by mixing brandies of different years to obtain a perfect mix. The brandy abv is also adjusted at this stage to achieve the desired alcohol level.
- Bottling: If the brandy was distilled for commercial purposes, they are then bottled to prepare them for sales.
The difference between brandy and whiskey is in their ingredients. While brandy is made from grapes, whiskey is made from grain.
Types of Brandy
Because of the versatility of the brandy ingredient, there are quite so many types of brandies. Some of them are;
There’s a cognac brandy? Yes indeed! Many people do not know there is a difference between cognac and brandy. Despite their close relation, cognac and brandy are not the same. Cognac is a white wine that is classified under brandy. While brandy can be made anywhere globally, cognac can only be made in Cognac, France.
Cognac can be classified into three, based on aging. We have;
- XO- Means extra old. They include cognacs of 6 plus years.
- VSOP- means Very Superior Old and Pale. They include cognacs aged five to six years.
- VS- these are cognacs aged for 3 to 4 years
Some examples of cognac wine include; Hennessy VS cognac, Martell VS Single Distillery, Remy Martin VSOP Cognac Fine Champaign, Courvoisier XO cognac, and lots more.
Calvados is an apple brandy distilled in France. Before bottling, Calvados is aged 12 years. Due to these years of bottling, the fruit brandy has a sweet smooth taste with hints of nutmeg and licorice. This brandy is suitable for anyone who enjoys or wants to enjoy some aged good brandy.
Brandy is made in the regions of Jerez and Andalucía in Spain. The Spanish brandies are called Brandy De Jerez. These brandies are stored in sherry casks for as long as 15 years before they are served. There are three types of brandy de Jerez: Solera Reserva, solera and Solera Gran Reserva. Of the three, Solera Gran Reserva is considered the best.
Brandy may not have a special ingredient like rum or gin, but it does rank equally highly as one of the most popular liquors in the world. The versatility of the Brandy ingredients makes it a very interesting drink to explore. If you are a lover of vintage drinks, exotic tastes, and liquor, brandy is the drink for you.
We hope this article helped you to learn more about Brandy. You can now explore the different tastes of Brandy as you should. However, do not forget to drink responsibly, because the key to enjoying Brandy is taking it in the appropriate measure. And remember to always check for our reviews.
Where is brandy alcohol from?
Brandy originated in France. It was first introduced as a medicinal drink before it became a liquor that can be taken for enjoyment. It is now produced all around the world in varieties of brandy flavors.
What is the difference between brandy and cognac?
Cognac is a high-quality brandy, meaning that cognac is a class of the brandy grades. The major difference between the two liquor is in their relativity. You can refer to all cognac as brandy, but you cannot refer to all brandy as cognac.
What type of alcohol is brandy?
Brandy is neither rum nor whiskey. It is in its class, and is one of the most cherished spirit drinks globally. Brandy color differs because of the many numerous foodstuffs from which it can be derived.