What Other Types Of Brandy Are There
You’ve probably heard of grappa, another grape-based brandy made from leftover wine that’s generally associated with Italy, and pisco, a clear brandy that hails from Peru. But there’s also calvados, an apple brandy from France, and armagnac, another grape brandy from France. Long live the French and their dedication to the art of fermented fruit juices!
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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.
Best Armagnac: Darroze 40 Year Les Grand Assemblages
Region: Gascony, France | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Nutty, Fruit forward, Bright citrus, Endless finish
Distilled once in a simple column still and less diluted, Gasconys artisanal brandy is richer, more rustic, more texturaland less industrialthan its better-known competitor, cognac. It also often aged much longer, and as Desoblin points out, you can get something really old made in small quantities by real people who are also the farmers, for the fraction of the price of a cognac.
This 40-year-old Armagnac offers very long and intense flavors: nutty, fruity, and citrusy with a rich, seemingly everlasting finish. At less than $200 a bottle, its an amazing gift to yourself, says Desoblin, so go ahead and splurge.
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Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish And Hennessy Xo Are The Winners
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Best South American: Singani 63 at Drizly
Produced by a family that has been distilling since 1530, the brandys base is the aromatic muscat of Alexandria grape, grown high up in the Andes and naturally fermented for a wildly perfumed nose.
Brandy, put simply, is a spirit distilled from fruit. And, like most major categories of spirits, there are a variety of different styles to choose from. From unaged eaux-de-vie to the long-aged Armagnacs and cognacs, the production methods, flavor profiles, provenances and base materials are so varied, says certified cognac expert Ms. Franky Marshall. Id say its the most diverse category out there.”
For general parameters, think seasonally: In winter, you might want to cozy up to a brandy with some age and a fuller body whereas the summer months might call for something youthful, lively and more floral, says Marshall.
Our top picks are the Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish and Hennessy X.O. because the former has a rich flavor with little to no additives and the latter has a rich flavor that’s great over ice or in a snifter.
With bottles from artisan producers to world-renowned brands, here are the best brandies to drink right now.
Main Differences Between Brandy And Cognac
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What Are Brandy And Cognac Made From
Lets start big and work our way down. On that note, brandy is a general category pertaining to any distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice. The most common fruits used are grapes, but you can also find apple brandy, pear brandy, cherry brandy, fruit brandy , and other variations. Brandy is made around the world and therefore untethered to any specific region.
Cognac liquor, on the other hand, is a specific type of brandy thats made according to strict regulations. For starters, it must be produced using white grapes from one of six different terroirs in the Cognac region of Southwest France. Just a reminder: terroir is a fancy word for the natural environment in which wine is produced. Yes, that means cognac liquor is a form of distilled wine. The distillation season runs from October 1 to March 31, and all cognac must be distilled twice in a copper pot still.
How They Are Drank
French brandy is enjoyable to be sipped neat, but other types of brandy can be enjoyed with mixed drinks like soda water, lemonade, or coke. There are classic brandy cocktails on the internet like Brandy Alexander, so prepare your sugared rim glass and get ready to drink.
However, a good bottle of Cognac is most enjoyed neat. If you add a drop of water, the tasting notes will be revealed, making it a smoother-aged drink. There are classic cocktails for this spirit, but we recommend drinking it neat. But whats the best cognac to drink straight?
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Best South American: Singani 63
Region: Bolivia | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: White flowers, Fresh fruit, Herbal, Bright
In South American brandy, theres a battle between Peruvian and Chilean pisco, says Desoblin. But for something unique, he prefers singani, a spirit from Bolivia. Produced by a family that has been distilling since 1530, the brandys base is the aromatic muscat of Alexandria grape, grown high up in the Andes and naturally fermented for a wildly perfumed nose. Its twice-distilled in copper pots, as in Cognac, then rested in stainless steel for eight months where it mellows.
This line of singani in particular was created by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. Fruity and exuberant with a nose of white flowers, it makes great cocktails, says Desoblin. Swap it in for the pisco in a pisco sour.
Xo: Extra Old Aged A Minimum Of 10 Years
The Napoleon category used to be an unofficial label for extra-old Cognac, generally those that qualify as X.O., but also many aged much longer. Since the reclassification of X.O., Napoleon has adopted the categorys former requirements, and now signifies a blend with a minimum age of six years.
Worth noting is that these designations dont always show up on a bottle, and most quality producers will exceed their minimum listed age significantly.
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Cognac can also be labeled with one of the six appellations of the region: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires . The two Champagne regions, like the famed sparkling wine region, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil. If a bottle of Cognac is labeled Fine Champagne, its a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne brandies. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac.
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Difference Between Brandy And Cognac
Brandy is a kind of alcoholic drink made from wine anywhere in the world while cognac is a special kind of brandy made only in Western France.
Brandy is derived from the Dutch word for burnt wine and is produced by the distillation of wine after grapes have been properly fermented. Brandy usually contains 36 to 60 per cent of alcohol according to volume and is very popular across the world as an after-dinner drink or for keeping one warm. Brandy can also be made from fermented fruit other than grapes.
Then, there is fruit brandy that includes types like Calvados from French and has 40 to 45 per cent of alcohol content according to volume. Fruit brandy can be made from cherries, plums, apples, raspberries etc. American apple brandy is made after distilling hard cider. Buchu fruit brandy comes from South Africa. Many other countries have their own special fruit brandies. Finally, there is Pomace brandy made from the fermentation and distillation of grape skin, seed, stem and other remains after juice has been extracted. It is neither aged nor colored.
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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Why Is Cognac So Sweet
All cognacs are distilled and aged in the same way, but its the length of aging that makes the difference. VS must be aged at least two years in Limousin oak with that little time in wood, the result is often fruit-forward and sweet. Due to its youthfulness, the alcohol can burn a bit on the back of the throat.
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Importantly: Must Be Made In Cognac France To Qualify As Cognac
Cognacs produced anywhere else should bear a country name as the brand name . If the brand name is Cognac, it must be produced in Cognac. That is not always such an easy thing to spot. For example, many American brandies use the name Cognac on their label while substituting some other fruit for the grapes used in Cognacs .
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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
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Hennessy Is A Brand Of Cognac
Hennessy is the most familiar brand of cognac in the world. The brand’s labels account for over 40% of the global cognac market. “They’re a very old brand, they’ve been producing cognac continuously since the 1700s,” Erickson says.
Hennessy, along with Rémy Martin and Courvoisier, are the three most accessible and popular brands of cognac available globally. “A lot of people think of cognac as those three brands,” Erickson says. “But there are lots of smaller distilleries making affordable and high quality cognacs too.”
Quick tip: Erickson recommends the Maison Rouge V.S.O.P. as a less expensive alternative to pricier, big-name cognacs.
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The Singularity Of Cognac
Cognac is a protected place of origin, meaning it has a very specific way of making its brandy, wholly unique to its location. Distilled at least twice in copper stills, Cognac is then aged for a minimum of two years in French oak. Again, like wine, theres a perennial nature to it and the spirit-making closely follows the winemaking calendar. It begins just as the wines wrap up primary fermentation, roughly in early October in the northern hemisphere.
Many argue that its in the blending where Cognac takes on its nuanced nature and complexity of flavor. Experienced blenders will settle on an ideal harmony of flavors and let the batch integrate together for a spell prior to bottling. Per the Cognac guide above, there are several classes of the stuff, differentiated by aging times and more. There are also subregions within Cognac , six to be exact.
Three grape varieties are allowed in the production of genuine Cognac. Ugni Blanc is the most common, followed by Colombard and Folle Blanche. Theyre all white wine grapes and can offer distinctive flavors, textures, and more depending on how theyre farmed, what soils they reside in, the climate, etc. Again, its best to equate brandy, and Cognac especially, with fine wine.
Best For Sangria: Cognac Park Vsop
Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Ripe citrus, Salted caramel, Stone fruit
VSOP, or very superior old pale, refers to cognac in which the youngest brandy in the blend is at least four years old. This one from fourth-generation master blenders Lilian and Jérôme Tessendier has the orangey flavor that meshes with citrus and other fruit in a classic Spanish punch. Its not too creamy or cumbersome. Instead, its lithe and zingy, which is just the flavor profile you want when you’re making a pitcher of Sangria. Plus, the cognac is flavorful enough that a little goes a long way.
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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. .
How Should You Drink Them
Sipping a glass of cognacâespecially a V.S.O.P. or X.O.âby the fire on a cold winter night is the stereotypical image of the liquor, but it belies its versatility and suitability for mixed drinks. The Sidecar, for example, is a classic cocktail that uses cognac as its primary ingredient.
Here’s how to make it:
Ingredients.75 oz Cointreau/triple secInstructionsCombine ingredients in a cocktail shake. Fill with ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glass with a sugared rim.
Brandy, of course, can also be sipped neat or in cocktails .
Sipping cognac and brandy straight might give flavors of fruits like apricots, oranges, and lemons. Aged cognacs typically add notes of flowers and spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
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Cognac Armagnac And Their Wine Connection
For wine lovers, the differences between Cognac and Armagnac are much like those found between big-name wine regions and under-the-radar appellations that also produce competitive, high-quality bottles, but to less fanfare. While Cognac sets sales records year after year, Armagnac has re-emerged as a connoisseurs drink. Its beloved by professionals and those in the know, but outsold by its more popular sibling.
Choose Cognac and Armagnac like you would wine. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. When youre ready to dig deeper, seek out smaller labels for a more distinctive experience.
Its easy to overlook the details that define regional spirits, but their discovery can be very rewarding. Brandy is wines cousin in the spirits world, and Cognac and Armagnac have as much to reveal about where they come from as any wine region on earth.
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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