Whenever it’s a cold winter night, most of us like drinking some alcohol to keep ourselves warm. Its brandy, of course, that is best known for this reason. But have you never tried it before and are wondering what brandy tastes like? For that, you should read this article till the end!
Brandy is usually made with fermented fruit juices. This accounts for a flavor that is fruity and sweet. There are also certain other notes of flavor that can be found in brandy, like floral, citrus, and dried fruit.
There is also an oaky flavor that you get out of brandy, as it is generally aged in wooden casks. As brandy ages, its flavor gets more complex and intense.
Brandy is consumed in many different ways by people. It can be had neat and also makes a great addition to a wide variety of cocktails. It is considered to be one of the best types of alcohol to consume when you are under the weather.
But that is really not it. Brandy is supposed to be a sophisticated drink that is enjoyed by the elite. However, that is not really necessary as anyone can enjoy any type of alcohol if they know how to appreciate it!
But, in case you have never tried brandy, it is always better to know what flavor you should and can expect out of it. Various types of alcohol can be a little pricey, especially if we talk about spirits. So, it would be a disappointment to order some brandy that I do not like the flavor and still have to pay for it!
But, you can completely avoid a situation like this just by reading this article till the end. You will get all the necessary information about brandy through this article. So, let us discover brandy without any further ado!
What Is Brandy?
Most of you know that brandy is an alcoholic beverage, which is also a spirit. However, alcoholic beverages have a wide variety, with all made with different ingredients.
Moreover, the way each alcoholic drink is produced is also miles apart from how any other alcoholic beverage is produced. So, before we get to the flavor of brandy, let me give you a brief guide on what brandy actually is and how it is made.
Brandy is an alcoholic beverage made by distilling wine. Mostly made with grapes, there are also variations of brandy that are made with other varieties of fruits, like apples and cherries.
Brandy usually contains 40-50% of alcohol by volume, which is much higher than various other alcoholic beverages. This can, however, varies slightly, depending on the type of brandy.
Quite a lot of types of brandies are aged in wooden casks. However, there are also varieties that have color added to them and some which are aged and have added color.
To make brandy, the base wine is first distilled, where a large amount of the water and solids from it are removed. The remaining liquid is called ‘low wine.’ This ‘low wine’ is further distilled to produce brandy.
Once distilled, the brandy is placed in oak barrels for it to age and develop its characteristic flavors. With the aging process, most types of brandies are aged in wooden casks.
However, with some varieties of brandy, usually the ones from Spain, the wooden cask is changed every year. Once aged for a definite period, based on the style of brandy, it is mixed with distilled water to reduce the alcohol content and then bottled.
What Does Brandy Taste Like?
The flavor of brandy is extremely appealing to many people. However, as it happens quite a lot with alcohol, not everyone may like something that is generally liked by a huge mass of people.
There have been people who really do not prefer the flavor of brandy, even though the flavor is often described to be sweet. However, there are various varieties of brandy available, with all having a slightly different taste than the other.
The base flavor of brandy can be described as sweet and fruity. Most types of brandy also have a woody and oaky sort of flavor, as they have been aged in wooden casks.
However, this flavor is not necessarily present in every variety out there. There are also citrus and floral flavor notes that can be found in brandy. Overall, the flavor of brandy is described by most to be sweeter than whiskey.
As brandy is aged, the flavor gets more complex as it matures. Usually, a brandy that has been aged for less than two years is considered to be unaged brandy. The flavor of this brandy is mellow.
After two years of aging, the brandy is considered to be matured, with more complex flavors which are a combination of sweet, fruity, and oaky. Other than grapes, brandy is also made with pears, cherries, apples, plums, and apricots.
Brandy has various types, with the most popular amongst them being brandy de Jerez, pisco, calvados, applejack, grappa, and kirschwasser. All these types of brandy are made in different regions of the world, with different types of fruits.
Although the base flavor of them remains the same, which is fruity, you do get subtle changes in flavor with each type of brandy.
Is Brandy Sweet Or Bitter?
Most types of alcohol are associated with a bitter flavor. The king of this phenomenon is beer, of course. However, this really is a huge misconception. Yes, most alcoholic beverages do have a strong and overpowering flavor.
But, this flavor is not necessarily bitter in the case of every type of alcohol. This case is necessarily true for brandy. As it is made by distilling wine, you won’t really get any bitter flavor notes out of brandy.
Brandy is generally sweet and fruity in flavor. When comparing the sweetness with another variety of alcohol, the flavor of brandy seems to be like that of sweet wine, combined with the oaky flavor of the whiskey.
The sweetness, of course, won’t be extremely intense but is subtle. Moreover, as the brandy ages, the flavor gets sweeter and even more gentle compared to an unaged brandy.
Does Brandy Have A Strong Taste?
Alcohol has a strong taste of its own. With certain types of alcohol, like beer and wine, their taste actually turns out to be really mellow. This is mostly because they have pretty low alcohol content.
But, the flavors of brandy are described to be mellow and fruity. So, does extra alcohol content make a difference to the overall flavor of brandy?
Brandy does have a really strong taste. In case you sip brandy straight, you will get a sweet and fruity flavor; however, it will hit you all at once. The reason for this, you guessed it right, is the high alcohol content.
Most types of brandy have proof of 70 to 120. This means that it contains 35 to 60 % of alcohol. This does account for the really strong flavor that you get out of brandy.
Does Brandy Taste Like Alcohol?
For anyone that has had a sip of any sort of alcoholic beverage, they would know what alcohol tastes like. Alcohol or pure ethanol tastes extremely bitter to humans.
Moreover, the more the amount of alcohol, the stronger the concentration of the bitter flavor gets. So, you all know that brandy does have a very high amount of alcohol. But is that all you can taste out of brandy?
Brandy contains almost 30-65 % of pure alcohol. This does account for a highly strong alcoholic flavor out of brandy. However, brandy does have sweet and fruity flavor notes too.
Moreover, usually as brandy ages, the flavor gets more mellow and a little okay. But, regardless of any of this, you would still get a highly alcoholic flavor out of brandy.
What Does Apple Brandy Taste Like?
As I had mentioned earlier, most types of brandy are actually made by distilling wine, which means they are made with grape juice. However, there are a lot of varieties of brandy that are made with several other fruits, apples being a common one.
People who love apples, just like me, would for sure love to try an apple brandy. For that, let us discover the flavor of apple brandy.
With apple brandy, just like any other type of brandy, the flavor can vary based on how long the brandy is actually aged. If aged in oak casks for just a few years, apple brandy has a sweet flavor that is fresh and juicy.
It would basically taste like apple juice with a strong flavor of alcohol. If the apple brandy is aged for a longer amount of time, say 5-10 years, the flavor gets oakier with hints of spice-like clove, along with vanilla.
What Does Brandy Taste Like Compared To Other Alcohol?
I do believe that whenever we want to establish a new flavor, the easiest way to do it is always by comparing one flavor to another. Comparison gives an idea with a known entity and overall just makes it easier to know what something is supposed to taste like.
As you already know, brandy is an alcoholic beverage with a very high alcohol by volume content. The flavor of the brandy is sweet and oaky. But so is the flavor of various other alcoholic beverages. So, let us see how the flavor of brandy compares with some of the most common alcoholic beverages available in the world.
Brandy V/S Wine
Brandy is traditionally made by distillation of wine. So, you can expect a similar sweet flavor out of grapes in both these beverages. However, one needs to take into account a huge difference in the alcohol by volume content.
The alcohol does account for a stronger flavor in brandy as compared to wine. Moreover, brandy does have certain hints of spice flavor that come from aging in wooden casks. Compared to that, wine tastes really subtle and almost like fruit juice.
Brandy V/S Whiskey
There are actually quite a few differences between brandy and whiskey. Brandy is made with fruit juice, whereas whiskey is made with grains. So, that does create differences in flavor, even though they are both aged in wooden casks.
Compared to whiskey, brandy has a sweeter and more caramel-like flavor. Whiskey, in comparison, has a stronger flavor which is oakier.
Brandy V/S Rum
Rum and brandy are often categorized to be the same, as they are both distilled spirits. However, their base ingredients are different as rum is made by distilling sugar, whereas brandy is made by distillation of wine.
This gives the rum a flavor that is almost caramel-like and tastes like toasted sugar. Brandy also has a sweet flavor. However, brandy has a fruity flavor too that you don’t necessarily get out of rum.
Brandy V/S Bourbon
Bourbon is made from rye, unlike brandy. So, there are certain expected differences between them, especially regarding the flavor. The flavor of brandy is sweet and fruity.
Whereas bourbon, on the other hand, has a spicy and peppery flavor that comes from the rye. You will also get notes of vanilla and an oaky flavor from bourbon.
Brandy V/S Vodka
Vodka is mostly distilled from potatoes or, in some cases, certain starchy grains. So, unlike brandy, there are no sweet or fruity flavors that you can get out of vodka. In fact, most types of vodka, except for fruit-flavored vodkas, are completely flavorless.
Brandy V/S Cognac
Many people may not know this, but cognac is actually a type of brandy. It is a barrel-aged brandy that is made in the Cognac region of France. So, to be classified as cognac, grapes growing in that specific region of France have to be used.
Their flavors are quite alike. However, cognac has to be aged for at least two years. So, this can account for a flavor that is a little oakier compared to brandy.
Different Types Of Brandy And Their Different Tastes
There is sometimes a misconception with alcohol that one particular spirit will just have one flavor. However, most alcoholic beverages, regardless of how they may have been produced or their alcoholic content, do have different types that are made in different regions.
The same is the case with brandy, as it does have types that are made in certain specific regions. In the table given below, I have mentioned some of the most common varieties of brandy, along with their specific flavors.
|Type Of Brandy||Flavor|
|Brandy de Jerez||Sweet with flavors of dried fruit and salt|
|Pisco||Sweet with a sharp tart flavor|
|Calvados||Apple and pear flavored with hints of spice|
|Applejack||Apple flavored with oaky notes|
|Grappa||Sweet with honey and caramel undertones|
What Is The Proper Way To Drink Brandy?
Just like many other alcoholic spirits, in particular, there are different ways to drink brandy. However, no one way can be said as the best way to drink brandy, as it all eventually comes down to people’s preferences.
However, to narrow it down, there are basically three different ways in which brandy can be consumed. These are straight, on the rocks, and in cocktails. Let us see a detailed description of how you can drink brandy to enjoy its best flavor in each way.
People who love the original sweet flavor of brandy often prefer drinking it straight. Drinking brandy straight is actually quite easy as brandy does not really need to breathe before serving, unlike certain other alcoholic drinks.
To drink brandy straight, first, you should make sure that the glass is slightly warm, as this releases the aroma of the brandy and gives a better drinking experience. Once the brandy is served, you should take some whiffs of it before you actually drink it.
Smelling the brandy will give you a better idea of what the flavor would be like. Once you do smell it, the first sip you take should be really small. This is to ensure that the alcohol does not overwhelm your taste buds in the first sip. After the first sip, you can enjoy larger sips of the brandy.
2. On The Rocks
Serving brandy on the rocks is basically just serving straight brandy with ice. This practice of drinking brandy is mostly done by people who like the flavor of brandy but still want it to be a little subdued.
The best way to drink brandy on the rocks is to first take a neat sip of it. This will give you a good idea of the flavor you can expect out of the brandy. Then, it is best to add just a single large ice cube as too many will water your drink down and not give as good a flavor.
Once you add the ice cube, it is best to wait a little bit before sipping the brandy. Waiting will make sure the brandy cools evenly. Once the brandy is cool enough, start by taking small sips to understand the flavor of the brandy, then you can move on to larger sips.
3. In Cocktails
Brandy cocktails are quite popular. Basically, they contain a lot of mixers, and some may also have other varieties of alcohol added to them. Drinking brandy cocktails is a good way to start a brandy drinking experience.
Brandy cocktails are a good option for people who do like brandy but are not too fond of the flavor by itself. The addition of other ingredients will make the flavor slightly more subdued and give you a better experience.
With brandy cocktails, the way they are served completely depends on the type of cocktail. However, the best way to drink a cocktail is also by starting with smaller sips. This will give you a better idea of the flavor and not give you a pungent taste of alcohol.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Brandy
Alcoholic beverages, especially spirits, stay good for the longest amount of time. So, when it comes to buying a new spirit, there is no problem with looking for freshness or whether the alcohol is spoiled.
But, having said that, there are actually a lot of other parameters that you will have to consider before buying brandy or any spirit for that matter. Some of the parameters that you need to consider before buying a bottle of brandy are given below.
1. Knowing About The Different Types Of Brandy
The first and most important thing to do before buying brandy is to know about the different types. All the types of brandy have different overtone flavors. So, knowing about the flavor of brandy will help you understand what flavor you would actually prefer best.
In case you do know about the flavor of brandy but are not really sure about what to expect, you can always visit a distillery first. Visiting a distillery and tasting the different types that are there to offer will for sure give you a better idea.
Once you have selected the flavor you like best, you can accordingly go about and try finding something that has a similar taste. This will leave out the chances of a situation where you end up buying brandy but don’t like the flavor.
2. Learning About Brandy Ratings
Brandy usually has different types of ratings based on how long it is aged. These include ratings like VS ( Very Special), VSOP (Very Special Old Pale), and XO (Extra Old).
The intensity of flavor that you can expect out of these three types is actually quite different. So, first, you need to know how exactly you would like to drink the brandy and what kind of intensity you would like for the flavor.
In case you want to drink it straight and prefer a milder flavor, it is best to go for brandy that is not aged for as long. Likewise, for cocktails, if you want a stronger flavor, you can pick brandy that is aged for a longer time and has a sharper flavor.
3. Knowing About Popular Brands And How Much You Would Like To Spend
When selecting brandy, it is always important to look for brandy that is of a good brand. A better brand will offer a better quality of brandy with a finer and smoother flavor. Moreover, knowing about the brands will also help you understand how much you would like to spend.
Brandy does not necessarily have to be expensive for it to be of good quality. Once you know about different brands and also know their ratings, you can pick a good quality brandy that is also budget-friendly.
How To Store Brandy Properly
As you already know, most alcoholic beverages do not really go bad for a really long time. This is mainly because of the really high content of alcohol in them, which makes it almost impossible for bacteria to grow or multiply.
However, that being said, the flavor and quality of alcoholic beverages, or brandy, in particular, do deteriorate over time. This is especially if the brandy is not stored properly. There is no need to worry, though, as given below are some tips that you can follow to store your brandy properly.
1. In A Cool And Dark Place
The best way to store brandy, just like other spirits, is to store it in a cool and dry place. This is regardless of whether the bottle is opened or not. Make sure you keep brandy away from sunlight as that does deteriorate the flavor. Also, ensure that the temperature of that area is properly regulated.
2. In The Refrigerator
Most people do not prefer using this method to store brandy, as actually there is no need to refrigerate brandy. However, that does not mean that brandy cannot be refrigerated!
Refrigeration of brandy, or any alcoholic beverage for that matter, basically comes down to personal preference. In case you prefer your brandy to be cool, refrigeration is not really a bad idea.
3. In The Freezer
This is again a method that can be followed based on your personal preference. There is no need to worry in case you store your brandy in the freezer, as the high alcohol content in brandy will make sure it does not freeze.
You can keep your brandy bottle in the freezer an hour before serving it to get properly chilled brandy.
Some Brandy Cocktails You Definitely Need To Try
Most brandy lovers love sipping their brandy as it is, or at the most, with ice. However, that does not nullify the fact that brandy cocktails are delicious! In fact, there are a whole lot of people who prefer brandy cocktails much more than sipping brandy as it is.
Most cocktails are made with ingredients that complement the flavor of brandy really well. So, here I present to you some of the best brandy cocktails that you should definitely try!
- Brandy Cocktail- Yes, that is the actual name of this cocktail! Brandy cocktail is made with brandy, curacao (a citrus liqueur flavored with orange peel), and finished with some bitters. It gets a perfect mix of sweetness and the citrus flavor of the curacao.
- Brandy Daisy- Brandy daisy is a cocktail that is a finer fit for high-end varieties of brandy. It consists of brandy with some rum, curacao, simple syrup, lemon juice, and soda. It has a balance of sweet and sour flavors.
- Metropolitan- Metropolitan is a drink made with brandy, sweet vermouth, and simple syrup. It is the best cocktail to try if you want a sweeter flavored drink to enjoy brandy better.
- Vieux Carre- This brandy cocktail is a classic from New Orleans in the US. Consisting of cognac, whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, this cocktail has a lot of layers of flavors that you get to enjoy alongside the sweet flavor of brandy.
- Brandy Alexander- Brandy alexander is an old and classic dessert cocktail. It is easy to make and has only three ingredients, namely brandy, creme de cacao, and cream. A great way to enjoy alcohol and also satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time!
- Champagne Cocktail- Champagne cocktail is a mix of two extremely elegant drinks, champagne and brandy. Also, having ingredients like maraschino cherries, orange, bitters, and a sugar cube, this is the best cocktail to have on special occasions.
- Champagne Bowler- A champagne bowler does not actually contain champagne but has sparkling wine and white wine. The sparkling wine can, however, be of your choice, even champagne. Also loaded with strawberries, this is a truly refreshing drink.
- Brandy Cobbler- Brandy cobbler is quite similar to a dessert cobbler, where the fruit stands out. It is made with brandy, simple syrup, and club soda, along with lemons or oranges. However, you can use fruits of your choice as there is always room for experiments!
- Star Cocktail- A star cocktail is basically just like a metropolitan, just made with apple brandy. It’s a classic that has unsweetened apple brandy to enjoy the true flavor of the spirit.
- Japanese Cocktail- A Japanese cocktail is a simple drink that consists of cognac, lime juice, and bitters. What stands out in this cocktail is the addition of orgeat syrup which adds an extra layer of flavor.
Health Benefits Of Brandy
Brandy, an elite spirit is not just all about the flavor! People enjoy drinking brandy also because it does have a lot of health benefits attached to it. Just like many other alcoholic beverages, drinking brandy in moderation can actually be good for your health in certain ways.
Brandy contains a lot of compounds that can help the body in many different ways. However, regardless of all of this, it is still very important to drink brandy in moderation or consult a doctor before having it. Some of the health benefits that you can enjoy brandy are given below.
1. Is An Antioxidant
Brandy contains a lot of antioxidants that are good for the body. These antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and also prevent blood clots. They also help naturally build the immune system.
2. Increases Good Cholesterol In The Body
Brandy contains a very low amount of cholesterol. It improves and increases the amount of good cholesterol in the body, which is great for heart health. Moreover, the antioxidants in brandy can also help reduce bad cholesterol.
3. Helps With Weight Management
Brandy barely contains any carbohydrates. Having a small amount of brandy can help lower appetite and eventually help with weight management. Moreover, brandy is also great for digestion.
4. Boosts Immune System
Brandy contains antibacterial compounds that can help boost the immune system. It is considered to be the best alcoholic beverage to consume when you have a cough, cold, sore throat, or the whereabouts of it.
5. Reduces Artery Inflammation
Drinking moderate amounts of brandy can help lower blood pressure. This, all in all, can help reduce inflammation caused in arteries and cardiovascular issues.
Nutritional Content Of Brandy
So, by now, you all know that brandy has a lot of health benefits attached to it and is overall a healthy choice of a drink if consumed in moderation. Brandy lacks fat and carbohydrates, which may be a good enough reason to try it!
However, I know that people who strictly follow health regimes may not be convinced by this idea. So, let me share the nutritional values of brandy. This will for sure better convince people who might still be a little skeptical about trying brandy.
|Nutrient||Amount (Serving size 42 grams or 1.5 oz)|
Brandy is an alcoholic beverage that is made by distilling wine. Mostly made with grapes, there are also variations of brandy that are made with apples, pears, apricots, and even cherries. Brandy has a sweet flavor along with fruity notes.
There is also an oaky flavor note present in brandy, as it is usually aged in wooden casks. Brandy can be aged for different periods of time, and the aging process decides the characteristics of the brandy. As brandy ages, you can get a stronger woodsy flavor with an overall mellow flavor.
Brandy also has a lot of health benefits attached to it. It is considered to be the best alcoholic drink to cure symptoms of flu and sore throat. However, despite the benefits, brandy does contain very high alcohol by volume content of 35-60%, so it should always be consumed in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is brandy?
Brandy is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from wine.
Is brandy always made with grapes?
No, there are variations of brandy that are made with various other fruits like apples, pears, apricots, and even cherries.
What does brandy taste like?
Brandy has a sweet and fruity flavor, with other undertones, depending on the type.
Is brandy bitter?
No, the flavor of brandy is more on the sweeter side.
Is brandy a strong alcohol?
Yes, brandy is really strong as it has an alcohol by volume content of 35-60%.
Is cognac a type of brandy?
Yes, cognac is a type of brandy.
Is brandy healthy?
Yes, there are a lot of health benefits that you can get out of brandy if consumed in moderation.
Can you drink brandy if you have the flu?
Yes, drinking brandy is a great way to reduce symptoms of flu, sore throat, and cough.
Can you drink brandy every day?
Yes, it is okay to consume brandy every day, in moderation.
How much brandy can you drink every day?
The recommended intake for everyday consumption of brandy is two standard drinks for men and one standard drink for women.
Is brandy high in sugar?
No, brandy actually contains no sugar.
Does brandy make you gain weight?
No, research shows that drinking moderate amounts of brandy can actually help with weight management.