Brandy is a spirit mostly made by distilling wine. The name comes from a Dutch word, brandewijn, which means “burned wine.” Two of the best-known and indeed best types of brandy, whose production is governed by strict rules, are Cognac and Armagnac, both from France. So, all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. Many wine-growing regions of the world also produce brandy, and the flavors vary according to both the types of grape used for the wine and the differing production processes. Most U.S. brandy comes from California. Brandy is also used as an ingredient in spirits such as Metaxa, a Greek spirit. A distinct type of brandy is fruit brandy, which is made from fruit juice, wine, or pulp from fruit other than grapes. Grappa, common in Italy, and the South American spirit called pisco are also types of brandy.
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How Is Brandy Made?
Hine Rare, Homage, Antique, and H by Hine
Paul Masson Grande Amber VS Brandy
We’ve reviewed rare spirits before, but Martell’s Exquisite L’Or de Jean Martell cognac is to date the absolute rarest: Just 120 bottles are being sold. We got a taste — not much, mind you — but enough for a serious review. And my how quickly that went down. The 80-proof Martell’s Exquisite L’Or is, indeed,…Read More
Arguably the oldest spirit-making region in France, Armagnac is Cognac’s bigger, sometimes crueler brother. Armagnac is located just a bit south of the Cognac region in western France, and like Cognac, it is the home — and the only home — of a distilled spirit that bears its name. Like cognac (the spirit), armagnac brandy…Read More
A Double Gold winner at this year’s San Francisco International Spirits Competition, Bache-Gabrielsen’s XO is a relative newcomer to the Cognac world, launched officially only in 1996, a wee babe in this rarefied industry. Blended from 72 percent Grande Champagne grapes and 28 percent Petite Champagne, then aged for about 20 years, this is a…Read More
I expect to see lots of recession-minded lifestyle coverage in the upcoming months. Esquire magazine doesn’t disappoint with this roundup of the best cheap spirits — stuff that’s affordable but which you wouldn’t mind actually serving to guests. The winners: Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP brandy, Brugal Anejo rum, White Horse Scotch, Gordon’s gin, and…Read More
This cocktail was born from looking for something to make with St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, a pungent liqueur that immediately overpowers just about anything you add it to. Tread lightly. Midnight at the Oasis 2 oz. brandy 1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram 1/4 oz. Licor 43 1/4 oz. Damiana 2 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb…Read More
What better gift is there than a bottle of booze? Not only will your giftee think you’re incredibly sophisticated, chances are he’ll let you drink a good amount of it before he realizes his terrible mistake. What’s the best booze to put under the tree this Christmas season? Of course you want to offer something…Read More
This weekend Eric Felten wrote about the Widow’s Kiss in the Wall Street Journal, a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1890s at least. Tried one today — using his recipe, which is cribbed from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails — and found it as I remembered, still too sweet and overwhelming…Read More
All hail the House of Delamain. I reviewed much of Delamain’s exceptional cognac line earlier in the summer. This week, the company’s Managing Director Charles Braastad took the time to guide me and a handful of other wine and spirits writers through his company’s offerings. This tiny cognac producer makes some amazing products: The youngest…Read More
The four Cognacs reviewed below represent $1,150 worth of booze (in 750ml bottle formats)… and compared to the latest entry in Delamain’s collection, that’s pretty much nothing. Delamain’s latest — Le Voyage — costs $7,000 a bottle, which includes a Baccarat decanter and leather “traveling box.” I haven’t tried Le Voyage (that’s on tap, I’m…Read More