What is brandy


Perhaps no liquor is as underrated and underappreciated as brandy. It’s not the preferred liquor for most. It’s often associated as an older-stuffy drink, which is unsurprising given it famously being Napoleon’s choice of drink. It certainly isn’t featured in nearly as many cocktails like other liquors we have covered so far. But we’re here to shine some light on on this delicious, versatile spirit and open you up to the world of brandy.



-Technically, brandy is a spirit derived from the wines of fruit. Almost all brandies you will come across are derived from grapes.

-These brandies are caramel in color—either through aging process in wooden casks, artificially added color, or sometimes a combination of both

-A notable exception to this is eaux de vie (water of life)—a colorless type of fruit bandy

-Brandies typically have an ABV range of 35-60%

A brief history…


It is believed to be one of the earliest liquors ever produced, thanks to its link with wine. Brandy’s origins are closely interlinked with the advent of distillation.

In fact, the name brandy is actually derived from the Dutch word brandewijn—which means burnt wine. This relates to the act of applying heat during the distillation process.

It also came about thanks to merchants’ desires to preserve wine during shipment, who distilled wine with the intention of adding water back to the distillate upon arrival to its destination.

However, this concentrated beverage—aged in the wooden casks—quickly found acceptance as a drink on its own

Cognac vs. Armagnac


These are probably the two most well-known and respected types of brandy. They have a few similarities such as:

-They’re both produced in France, both of which can only be produced in their particular regions with particular types of grapes.

So what are the main differences between the two?

-Armagnac tends to be fruitier than Cognacs thanks to differing distillation processes.

-Armagnac also tends to be harder to find in stores.


There are many other types of brandies that we can and will discuss later on. But for now, try and find a good cognac—you can find great ones that won’t break the bank—and enjoy the spirit’s rich flavor. Hope you learned some more, thanks for reading, and as always...

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City