What Is The Difference Between Cognac & Other Types Of Brandy
Brandy is a liquor, or spirit made from a mash of distilled fruit.. The word brandy is derived from the word Brandywijn, which is Dutch for burnt wine. Brandy is a general term for a distilled beverage made from grapes, though brandy is also made from pomaceous fruits, e.g., apples and pears, and stone fruits, such as apricots, peaches, and cherries.
The leftover of winemaking, called pomace is also used. Pomace is made of grape skins, seeds, and stems. The Italian Grappa is an example of this. Grappa Bianca is an unaged rough clear spirit, while riserva has been aged . If the brandy is made in the Cognac region of France, using grapes from this region, it is referred to as Cognac, which is considered the finest brandy.
Armagnac is specifically from the Armagnac region of France, and is a rougher and earthier type of brandy. Calvados is a brandy made from apples, and is unique to the Calvados region of France. There are also very respectable brandies made in the US. E & J and Christian brothers are two of my long time favorites. Both blend affordability with quality.
Brandy is 60 to 80 proof, meaning it is bottled at 30% to 40% alcohol, and has flavor notes leaning toward of oak, apple pie spice, and caramel, though this will vary considerably from one type, age and brand to another.
Brandy is classified according to age:
Eau de vie is unaged, or bottled directly after distilling, or minimally aged two year or less. It tends to be rough and fiery.
What Makes These Spirits Derived From Distilled Wine Actually Differentand Also The Same
Cognac and brandy are the kinds of spirits that your grandfather and/or Fetty Wap might sip by the fire on a chilly winter eve, or guzzle posted up in a bando settin goals and talkin matchin Lambos, respectively.
Youve probably tasted both cognac and brandy, even if you dont realize it. Hell, you might be holding a bottle of Hennessy in your hand at this very moment. But chances are you dont actually know the real difference between brandy and cognac. If you did, you likely wouldnt have clicked into this article that very clearly promises to detail the differences.
Cognac and brandytwo silky, smooth, pungent, and traditionally refined spirits made from distilling wineare not the same thing. But, well, they kind of are.
We know its confusing. Please, pour yourself a glass, and let us explain.
Where Is Brandy Produced
In France, the most famous Brandy producers are Cognac Houses: Hennessy, Martell or Rémy Martin. But there are also small producers such as Maison Painturaud Frères that also produced Pineaux des Charentes. In the USA, Brandy is essentially made in California. Major brands of brandy are Christian Brothers, E & J Gallo, Korbel et Paul Masson. In Portugal, the most famous brandy is the CR& F also called agua ardente. In India, companies selling most brandies are McDowells No.1, Mansion House Brandy, Old Admiral, Honey Bee, Mens Club Brandy. In Brazil, there is the brand Deher.
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What Is The Difference Between Brandy Cognac Armagnac And Calvados
Firstly, it is important to know that Cognac is a brandy that has been made in a specific region of France, around the town of Cognac in the Department of Charente . The name is protected by French law which dictates the type of grapes used and many of the stages involved during the distilling and ageing process.
Cognac starts life as a white wine and then it goes through a double distillation process followed by periods of ageing in oak barrels. Some of the colour and distinct taste comes from the oak used. It is a process that has been handed down through families creating a liquor that is famous around the world.
The brandy must have been aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels before it can be officially sold as a Cognac. During this aging process, the distilled liquid is known as the eau-de-vie.
The longer the Cognac is left to age, the more the colour will darken, so younger Cognacs will generally have a lighter tone compared to the older versions.
Armagnac is a brandy that has been legally made in the Armagnac region in Gascony, and Calvados is made using apples and pears in the Normandy and Brittany area of France.
So Is Hennessy Brandyand Cognac
It sure is! See, youre getting it now.
Hennessy is overwhelmingly the most popular brand of cognac in the world, accounting for almost half of overall cognac sales and production in the world. Its also an incredibly old brand, with origins reaching back all the way to 1765.
Other cognac brands of note include Remy Martin, Courvoisier, and . If youve listened to rap in the past quarter-century, youve probably heard these names dropped a lotand they are all from the same diminutive region of France. .
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Common Ways To Drink Brandy And Cognac
Because of its inherent sweetness, brandy and cognac are often served as a digestif an after dinner drink. “The iconic way to drink brandy is neat in a big snifter glass,” Erickson says. “But it’s also great served on the rocks and mixes incredibly well in cocktails.”
“In a lot of senses, I think brandy is undervalued in the mixing world,” Erickson says. “It’s great at rounding out and softening other spirits in drinks or even swapping them out entirely.” The most well-known cognac-based cocktail is the Sidecar, which mixes cognac with dry Curacao and lemon juice.
“Brandy and cognac were often used in classic cocktails from New Orleans,” Erickson says. Golden age drinks like the Sazerac were originally made with cognac before shortages led to the base spirit being switched to rye whiskey.
What Is The Difference Between Cognac And Brandy
As many varieties of cognac and brandy look and taste quite similar, it is not surprising that many people do not know the difference between the two. The short answer is that cognac is actually a type of brandy that is produced within a particular region of France. Yet there are more precise differences between cognac and brandy. Manufacture of cognac is governed by laws set by the French government, meaning that all cognacs are made from specified varieties of grapes and follow a prescribed production process. Brandy production, on the other hand, is not regulated by such strict laws, and therefore the ingredients, production process, and resulting quality of brandies can vary widely.
The difference between cognac and brandy begins with the fact that by French law, the name cognac can be given only to those brandies produced in the Cognac region of western France. This geographical requirement is largely due to the fact that the chalky soil in this region imbues the resulting brandy with a unique flavor. Further, cognac must be made primarily from three varieties of grapes: Ugni Blanc, Colombard, and Folle Blanc.
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Brandy Vs Cognac: Whats The Difference
Cognac is a subset of brandy that distills white wine twice over, creating a luxurious French liquor. While the spirit is aging, they are sometimes referred to as eau de vie, which translates to water of life.
If you think back to Geometry class, you may recall the phrase All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. This thought-provoking conditional statement can be translated directly to the world of Cognac and Brandy. The new statement might read, All Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac.
In fact, most brandy is not Cognac brandy is only required to be made from fermented fruit juice, not grapes. Common alternate fruits used for brandy include apples and pears. The aging process also plays a big role in classification brandy is held to the same strict aging requirements as Cognac.
Read on for more info on the defining characteristics and differences between Cognac and other forms of brandy. À ta santé!
Got It But Then Whats Cognac Exactly
All cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.
Since brandy is such a broad term for fermenting fruit juices, there are naturally an invariable amount of subsets of liquor inside that general framework. Cognac is one of themand likely the most well known.
Cognac is specifically created in the Cognac region, in the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments, of Southwest France. If it doesnt originate there, it isnt real cognac. But, there are even more qualifications that the spirit must uphold to be considered true cognac.
First, the fruit juice base must originate from white grapes of one of six different terroirs, but primarily, the main grape used is called ugni blanc. Cognac then goes through two separate rounds of distillation: it begins sometime in October or early November and is legally required to end by March 31. If you finish your distilling process after midnight on March 31, youve got invalid cognac on your soiled hands.
Despite the apparent specificity, there are three separate qualifications of cognac, marked by symbols you’ll often see on bottles and barrels, based around aging:
- VS: Very Special, a cognac thats aged for at least two years
- VSOP: Very Superior Old Pale, a cognac that’s aged for at least four years.
- XO: Extra Old, a cognac that has aged six years, or more.
Bottom line: Cognac is a type of brandy made from distilled white wine, made in one, very specific, region of France.
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Flavor Profile Of Cognac
Cognac is the pinnacle of the brandy world for a reason. No other brandy tastes like Cognac because all the grapes grown in the Cognac region are used for, surprise surprise Cognac. The limited amount of grapes available means no one else can make brandy from grapes grown in the Cognac region. Consequently, no other brandy can taste like Cognac because no other grapes have the flavors from the regions soil.
Another aspect of Cognac compared to other brandies is the flavor complexity. Cognac is a blend of multiple Cognacs, all with unique characteristics and different ages. There is a real art to creating and blending a Cognac. The Cellar Master must balance the influence of the wood, create layers of flavor, and most of all, ensure the overall result is harmonious.
The top-quality ingredients and level of expertise mean you can find flavors in Cognac that you will struggle to find in other types of Brandy. These include chocolate, tobacco, leather, port, toffee, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
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Do You Know The Difference Between Brandy And Cognac
Do you know the difference between brandy and cognac? These two well-known spirits either share everything in common, or not much at all â depending on how you frame the question.
Confused? Actually itâs quite simple.
Brandy has been made for centuries, anywhere wine is made, and can describe any spirit distilled from fermented fruit juice. The name comes from the Dutch word brandewijn meaning âburnt wineâ, a reference to its distillation with heat.
Many countries have their own national brandy, such as Slivivitz in Poland, made from plums.
Cognac is a type of brandy made from grapes that follows very strict production methods. It is specific to the French region of Cognac, for which the spirit is named.
Compared to other brandies, cognac was quickly recognised for its superior ability to age, the result of high acidity in its grapes.
As such, the Cognac region has been considered the benchmark for brandies worldwide for hundreds of years, and remains so today.
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Can You Use Cognac Instead Of Brandy For Cooking Or Baking
Brandy and Cognac are readily interchangeable when it comes to cooking, so there is no problem substituting one for the other in a recipe. However, keep in mind that Cognac is a premium Brandy. Dont reach for a bottle of Martell X.O. to flambe your crepes! When it comes to cooking and cocktails, you can usually get away with a V.S. or V.S.O.P. Cognac, but you might want to use an X.O. Brandy.
Like cooking with wine, the quality of the alcohol you use will affect the flavor of the dish you are making, especially when using it for sauces. If you cant bear to drink it, dont cook with it!
When substituting brandy for Cognac in a cocktail, be sure you use a traditional brandy made from grapes rather than a fruit brandy. Fruit brandy will have a different flavor profile and may spoil the balance of the cocktail recipe.
Classic Brandy Cocktails
- Vieux Carre Cognac, Rye whiskey, Red vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud bitters, Angostura bitters
- Brandy Alexander Cognac, Creme de Cacao, Pouring Cream
- Sidecar- Cognac, Lemon juice, Triple Sec
How Is Cognac Different From Brandy
Cognacs follow a strict regulation implied by the Appellation dOrigine Contrôlée in France. The main ingredients of Cognac must come from a very specific region in Cognac, France.
On the other hand, brandy does not have a limitation on this. Moreover, the two spirits differ in distillation, aging process, tasting notes, and originating regions.
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How Are Brandy And Cognac Made
Because brandy is an overarching category, it isnt bound by a strict production process. That said, all forms of brandy start with the fermentation of grape juice or other fruit juices , followed by distillation.
Fine brandies will use quality wine grapes as a source, get produced in small batches, undergo double distillation inside pot stills, and age in oak casks for two years and up before bottling. Most bottles of fine brandy will contain a blend of various vintages.
For cognac, the production process is far more rigid and consistent, though quality can still vary. First comes the fermentation of white grapes from the Cognac region. Ugni Blanc grapes are the most ubiquitous and therefore the most commonly used as a base ingredient. After fermentation, the wine is double distilled between October 1 and March 31.
Next, the young spiritalso known as eau de vie undergoes a unique aging process for a minimum of two years. During this aging process, the eau de vie starts in a new French oak barrel before getting redistributed to older barrels so as not to suck up too much wood. The darkened spirit is then typically blended with other vintages by a master blender or team of master blenders. The married liquor usually undergoes additional maturation before bottling, while the age statement on the bottle reflects the youngest vintage in the blend.
Armagnac Vs Cognac: The Grape Varieties
Armagnac is a white wine from Gascony, distilled and heated in an Armagnac still, then aged in oak barrels. It is made from different grape varieties including Ugni Blanc , Baco , Colombard , Folle Blanche and the old grape varieties: Blanquette, Mauzac white and rosé, Clairette de Gascogne, Meslier Saint François, Plant de Graisse The Ugni blanc comes from the Cognac region. It was widely planted in the Armagnac region after the ravages of phylloxera in the late 19th century.
Cognac is made from white grapes, mainly from Ugni Blanc. This grape variety makes up 98% of the Cognac vineyards.
The diversity of grape varieties used in Armagnac is due to the viticultural tradition of the region, which primarily produces a wine for drinking. The Cognac region produces mainly wine for distillation.
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Top Cognac Brandies In Starred Gastronomic Restaurants
For a Cognac Brandy producer the greatest accomplishment is to receive awards, titles and prizes for the quality of their alcohol. Another prestigious reward is to see their brand of Cognac Brandy served on the table of the greatest gastronomic restaurants in the world.
For gastronomic restaurants, the greatest reward is no doubt the satisfaction of their customers or the recognition of their pairs. A title bestowed on the greatest gastronomic restaurants is also extremely appreciated by restaurant owners and their team. This is the acquisition of one or several stars by the Michelin Guide.
These stars distinguish and reward what is on the plate and consequently what is in the glass of Cognac Brandy. The criteria of selection for the attribution of the stars are the following: the quality of the products including Cognac brandy, control of cooking and flavours, the personality of the chef brought out in his cooking and consequently in his selection of Brandies, best value in the menu and therefore the wine menu and long-term consistency in the entire menu. So, the stars reward the excellence of the restaurant, but above all, the chefs and personnel who work to establish the reputation of the restaurant. Amongst the personnel of these great restaurants, there are the sommeliers who enrich the wine menu and select the Cognac Brandy references. Sommeliers make a large contribution to the acquisition of stars by distinguishing and selecting the best Cognac Brandies.
What Is Brandy Made From
Brandy is derived from the Dutch word brandewijn, which means burned wine.
Traditionally, brandy is made from grapes however, it can also be made from other fruits.
The two categories of Brandy, based on the other fruits constituents, are:
- Pome Brandy: Pome brandy is made with fruits like pears and apples.
- Stone fruit Brandy: Stone fruit brandy is made with cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots.
All categories of Brandy are made from fermenting natural fruit sugars to alcohol.
The alcohol is distilled, after which they are soaked in aged Oak barrels where they pick up their mellow, luxurious oak undertones.
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