Brandy - About Types of Brandy & Cognac

Brandy was first named by the Dutch, who called it "brandewijn", or burnt wine. Indeed, brandy is closely related to wine, as it is also distilled from grapes and other fruit. Brandy is traditionally enjoyed in wide glasses called snifters, designed to allow the heat from the drinker’s hands to bring out the full flavor of the liquor.

There are three categories of brandies. Grape brandy is distilled from the fermented juice of grapes and aged in wood casks. Pomace brandy uses the grape skins, pulp, and stems that remain after the juice has been extracted. It is rarely aged and often thought to be an acquired taste. Fruit brandy refers to any brandy that has been made from a fruit other than grapes.

The names that most people think of as “types” of brandy are often location-specific. Cognac, considered by many to be the gold standard of brandies, is actually the name of a specific region in France where the liquor is made. Location is an important factor when it comes to brandy, as it determines the types of grapes used in the process.

Because it is distilled from fruit, Brandy is an agricultural spirit, similar to tequila and rum. This means that production is based on the seasons, as harvested fruit can’t be stored for year-around use the same way that grain can.