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Brandy, coming from the Dutch term for burned wine, brandewijin, is a spirit made from distilled wine or fruit juice, giving it its rich flavor. Like whisky or tequila, it's aged in wooden barrels or casks to intensify its flavor. It's also one of the most popular spirits in The Philippines.
The fruit is fermented to create the mash, along with wine, to make brandy. Afterward, the liquid is distilled. The distillation turns the wine into concentrated alcohol and enhances the flavor, which is then aged in wooden barrels. Depending on the style of brandy, it can age from anywhere between 2 years to over 30 years. Brandies aged less than 2 years are considered unaged.
The alcohol content in brandy ranges from anywhere between 40-50% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 80-100 proof. It's popularly made in Italy, France, Spain, The United States, and South America.
Brandy is a sweet drink typically enjoyed by sipping, either on its own or with ice. It can also be used as a base for cocktails like the Metropolitan or Sidecar.
There are quite a few kinds of brandy, like wine or whisky.
The regular Brandy that you know and love is sweet with fruity notes. The commonly-found brandy is usually made in Spain, as it was likely the birthplace of brandy. The style of making brandy varies depending on the region it's made in. A popular type called Solera is made in Jerez, like Emperador Brandy Original.
Try on Boozy: Emperador, Fundador, Tres Cepas
Cognac is one of the most popular types of brandy and is highly regarded as a remarkably smooth and premium drink. Like all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila; Cognac stands out from the rest of the brandies. Cognac is a very complex drink, and the flavor profiles can vary per distillery, but a common flavor note is a caramel, as most distilleries add this to the fruit mash. Cognac can only be made in the Cognac region in France.
Try on Boozy: Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martell
Also similar to wine and whisky, when brandy is aged, the flavors get richer. Brandy is known to have abbreviations on the bottle packaging like VS or XO, so here's what they mean:
VS stands for Very Special. These brandies are aged for at least 2 years.
VSOP stands for Very Special Old Pale, aged for a minimum of 4 years. Beyond that is XO, Extra Old. These are aged for at least 6 years.
Lastly, if the brandy is aged beyond 30 years, it's an Hors d’âge, aged at least 30 years. Because of how long these take, brandy, specifically Cognac, tends to have a superior taste and feel.
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