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And while grapes are definitely Brandy’s ingredient of choice, pretty much any fruit is welcome to join this boozy clan. In fact, you’ll find Brandy made up of apples, plums, and pears. Truth is, when it comes to this distilled Spirit, everyone’s welcome to the fam. That’s just the way they became the Brandy Bunch.
Let’s take a second to rewind things a bit, shall we? What exactly is Brandy? Well, it’s quite simple, really. Brandy refers to a distilled Spirit that’s made from fermented fruit juice. As we said, grapes get most of the glory, but almost any fruit is welcome to the mash.
But rather than take up the homebody life like Scotch (who hangs out in Scotland… and Scotland, only), you’ll find the boozy Brandy clan livin’ large all around the world — from the northern reaches of France to the rolling plains of Kentucky. The thing is, Brandy can be made anywhere and everywhere. A fact that the industry is starting to warm up to — and that’s a very good thing for both producers and consumers.
For instance, take Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy, which is a calvados-style Spirit made from New Mexico and Colorado apples, matured for at least ten months in American Oak. Or Koval Pear Brandy, made only once a year from - you guessed it - pears. Then, there's American Craft Brandy from Copper & Kings, taking full advantage of Kentucky Bourbon Barrels and the solera process. They're all Brandy, but they couldn't be more excitingly different.
Ready to join the fam? Just crack open this box and toast to the many flavors of the Brandy Bunch!
1. Brandy comes from the Dutch word “brandewijn,” which literally translates to “burnt wine.” And it’s an accurate description — you distill wine by heating/burning it up in a still until the concentrated alcohol emerges.
2. Cognac, and its lesser-known sibling Armagnac, both qualify as Brandies. Both are card-carrying citizens of France, with Armagnac camping out in the Gascony region of France and Cognac preferring to call, well, the Cognac region “home.”
3. But if we’re calling dibs on who gets first-born privileges, Armagnac edges out Cognac. The Spirit is the oldest type of Brandy in France, with documented distillation dating back to the early 15th century.
4. Turns out, Brandy’s a pretty decent meteorologist. Back in the 1600s, the Spirit was used in thermometers before it was replaced by mercury.
5. Armenian Brandy, also known as “Konyak” or “Kanyak,” has been a favorite among celebrities and powerful leaders throughout history, including Nero, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, and mystery writer Agatha Christie.
6. Brandy is also as American as Apple...jack. Yep, Apple Brandy (also referred to as “Applejack”) is believed to be the first Spirit produced in the British colonies.
7. The Cognac region may produce the most Brandy, but the Spanish come in at a close second. And they drink far more of their own Brandy than the French do Cognac.
8. Need a delicious Brandy cocktail for your next soiree? Look no further than the timeless (and tasty) Brandy Alexander, a drink that originated around the turn of the 20th century at Hotel Rector in New York City. Combine one-and-half ounces of Cognac with one ounce dark creme de cacao and one ounce of cream. Shake it up with some ice and strain it into a chilled coupe for a drink that’s dubbed “dessert in a glass.”