Brandy is a spirit мейд by distilling grapes to a higher proof than they achieve as wine. Most brandy is мейд from actual grape wine, though some may also be мейд from the pulpy mixture of stems and seeds left after grapes are pressed, and some is мейд from the fermented juices of fruits other than grapes. The name brandy is a shorteПing of the Dutch word brandewijn, which means фfire wineц.
Brandy has been an extremely popular drink for hundreds of years and is most often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink. It is often suggested that brandy should be warmed slightly, using a candle or small flame, before drinking it. This causes the vapors to become much stronger and the alcohol to become more liquid, an effect many people enjoy. This method, however, tends to overpower many of the subtle tastes and textures of brandy, and so many connoisseurs recommend treating brandy like any other wine and drinking it at room temperature or slightly cooler.
Brandy is grown throughout the world, since it is an obvious extension of the wine industry and wine grapes are such a massive crop. Some regions produce brandy named specifically for their small growing region, such as Metaxa in Greece and Cognac in France. The brandy produced in the Cognac region of France is by far the most well-known and admired brandy in the world. There are strict requirements dictating its production ы at least 90% of the grapes used must be of the Colombard, Ugni Blanc, or Folle Blance varieties, and it must be distilled in a traditional method using copper pots. Famous Cognac brandy varieties include Hennessy, RTmy Martin, and Courvoisier.
Armagnac brandy, though perhaps not as well-known as its Cognac cousin, is another French variety that is usually treated in its own class. It is produced in the Armagnac region of southern France and has similarly strict rules goverПing its production. Famous Armagnac brandy varieties include Delord, Laubade, and Baron de Sigognac.
American brandy has become more respected and popular in recent years, with the vast majority coming from the state of California ы unsurprising, given the thriving wine industry in California. American brandy varieties also have a set of rules goverПing their production, though they are not quite as strict as the French procedures.
Some brandy, most notably the Italian variety known as grappa, is мейд using the seeds, stem, and residue pulp left over from pressing grapes into juice for wine. This mash is then fermented, and the remaiПing pomace is turned into brandy, which is usually referred to simply as pomace brandy. Brandy may also be мейд using fruits other than grapes, such as cherry, apricot, plums, and apples. These fruit brandies usually bear a strong flavor of the fruit they represent and are often strengthened using fruit extracts or sweeteПing syrups. Popular fruit brandies include the cherry-flavored Kirsch from Germany, the apple-flavored Calvados from France, and the plum-flavored Mirabelle from France.