Brandy

The word brandy is derived from brandewijn, a Dutch word that means “burned wine.” It is a liquor that is distilled from either wine or another kind of fermented fruit juice. A majority of brandies are 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume). For centuries it has been enjoyed as both a cooking ingredient and cocktail. You should not choose this spirit on price alone because a great cocktail can be ruined by a low-quality brandy.

Many wine-producing countries make brandy, with the most exceptional brands coming from France, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Cognac, which comes from the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments of France, is considered the finest variety of brandy, as well as Armagnac from the Gers region. Other well-known types are Metaxa and Ouzo from Greece, Pisco from Peru, and Grappa from Italy.

Hennessy VS Cognac

Hennessy is probably the most appreciated and well-known name in the cognac world. Their V.S. bottling is the youngest in the product line, thus being the least expensive as well. Despite this fact, priced at $30 a bottle, Hennessy V.S. is comparable with many other brands on the market. Although not the best, this is still a good cognac, suitable for mixing and reliable, a cognac you can count on for various occasions.

Pisco

The potent brandy Pisco hails from South America.  It has a passionate following and a storied history.  Pisco is made and exported from Chile and Peru.  Both of these countries claim they are the original producers of this brandy. Only specific varieties of grapes are used to make Pisco.  They are fermented and then distilled into an aguardiente that is very potent.  Pisco is the essential ingredient for the pisco sour, a world-renown cocktail

Korbel Brandy

While American Brandies may not be as sought after or as popular as Cognacs from France, there are several being produced that are worth a mention and can be considered jewels in their own respect. One such brandy is Korbel by Korbel Champagne Cellars. This brandy is not only very good, it also is considerably affordable considering its quality. Korbel Champagne Cellars, located in Sonoma Valley, has over 100 years in the making of high-quality, great price champagnes and brandies. 

Overview of Cognac

The variety of brandy called Cognac, got its name from the town in France with that same name.  The spirit is produced in the wine-growing area that surrounds the town of Cognac, in France’s Departements of Charente-Maritime and Charente.

In order for any distilled brandy to be called Cognac, there are certain legal requirements that must be met by the production methods.  Cognac must be made using specified grapes.  The Ugni blanc, which is known as Saint-Emilion in the local area, is the grape that is most widely used.  Also, the brandy has to be twice distilled using copper pot stills as well as aged for a minimum of two years inside French oak barrels that are from either Troncais or Limousin.  When it is aged inside barrels, Cognac matures the same way that wine and whiskies do.  A majority of cognacs are aged for much longer than the legal minimum requirement. 

Guide to Brandy

The word brandy is derived from brandewijn, a Dutch word that means “burned wine.”  It is a liquor that is distilled from either wine or another kind of fermented fruit juice.  A majority of brandies are 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume).  For centuries it has been enjoyed as both a cooking ingredient and cocktail.  You should not choose this spirit on price alone because a great cocktail can be ruined by a low-quality brandy.

Brandy

Production

The brandy making process does vary between varieties.  However, four basic steps are always required.  The fruit is first fermented into wine.  Next the wine is distilled into alcohol.