“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”
Brandy is a spirit that is produced using wine. It is a common after dinner drink that is enjoyed all over the world. In other parts of the world brandy is often called cognac.
How to Drink Brandy
Brandy can be served in a variety of ways. It can be served straight, on the rocks, or mixed as an ingredient in cocktails. In western culture brandy is often enjoyed at room temperature and served in a snifter glass. In many Asian countries it is served on the rocks.
Many brandy drinkers prefer the drink to be slightly warmed. Holding the snifter glass in your palm can also contribute to the slight warming of the drink.
The History of Brandy
The creation of brandy is directly tied to the advance of distillation. The brandy that is known today began sometime during the 12th century but did not become widely popular until the 14th century. The origin of brandy originates from the distillation of wine.
Wine was distilled in order to help preserve it and also as a way to make the transportation process easier. The original intent was to add the water removed from the wine back into the liquid just before drinking. However after distilling the wine and then storing it in wooden barrels the distilled spirit changed into a substance very different from the original. This is the original process that lead to the formation of brandy.
How Brandy is Made
It’s important to note that there are different kinds of brandy. Grape brandy is brandy that is made by the distillation of fermented grapes. Fruit brandy is made by the distillation of fermented fruits other then grapes. These can include, apples, peaches, cherries, raspberries, and other common fruits.
First, wine is boiled in a large pot still. The resulting vapors of alcohol, water, and the many aromas that rise during the boiling process are collected in a condenser coil. The condenser coil then converts the vapors back to liquid. The liquid after this process has a higher alcohol content then the original wine that was boiled.
This is because alcohol and the components used for the aromas vaporize at a lower temperature than water. The resulting liquid of the distillation (also known as the distillate) is known as “low wine”. After this the low wine is distilled again. The first 1% of the distillate is generally set aside and later mixed into another batch of low wine.
This is because it is high in alcohol content and usually has a nasty odor. The distillation process continues like this until the distillate is 70% alcohol. It will now be consumed as brandy or move on to the aging process. Many brandies are not aged and are simply bottled after the distillation process. These brandies are often times clear and lack color.
Other brandies are aged in oak barrels. This aging can give the brandy a golden or brown color to it. Despite some brandies being aged in barrels it is common practice for caramel coloring to be added in order to simulate the look of barrel aging.