Brandy is a liquor produced by distilling wine. It generally contains 35–60% alcohol by volume.
Brandy is a type of liquor made from fermented fruit juice, typically fermented grape juice. Whilst grape brandy can be unmarked, it is required for brandy not made from grapes to be marked on the label.
The origins of brandy are tied to the development of distillation. While the process was known in classical times, it was not used for significant beverage production until the 15th century.
The word brandy comes from the Dutch word ‘brandewijn’, or burnt wine, meaning a liquor created from the distillation of fermented fruit.
It was ‘discovered’, in a commercial sense, during the 16th century after a Dutch merchant distilled French wine in order to transport more of the concentrated liquid back to the Netherlands. His plan was to add water to the casks on arrival but everyone had become rather fond of the distilled spirit. The Dutch named it ‘brandewijn’, or ‘burnt wine’, which was eventually shortened to brandy.
In the 16th century, French brandy helped boost transatlantic trade, overtaking Portuguese fortified wine in popularity, due to its higher alcohol content and ease of shipping.
A long history of brandy production around the world, but particularly in Europe, has resulted in regional variations in how the spirit is made.
Brandy is distilled from the base wine in two phases. In the first, a large part of water and solids is removed from the base, obtaining so-called “low wine”, basically a concentrated wine with 28–30% ABV. In the second stage, low wine is distilled into brandy. It is usually produced in pot stills (batch distillation), but the column still can also be used for continuous distillation.
After distillation, the unaged brandy is placed into oak barrels to mature. Usually, brandies with a natural golden or brown colour are aged in oak casks (single-barrel aging).
After a period of aging, the mature brandy is mixed with distilled water to reduce alcohol concentration and bottled. Some brandies have caramel colour and sugar added to simulate the appearance of barrel aging.
Brandy is traditionally served at room temperature from a snifter, a wine glass, or a tulip glass. It is added to other beverages to make several cocktails; The Sour, the Brandy Alexander, the Sidecar, the Daisy, and the Old Fashioned.
It is also used as deglazing liquid in making pan sauces for steak and other meat. It is also used to create a more intense flavour in some soups. Brandy is a common flavouring in traditional foods such as Christmas cake, brandy butter, and Christmas pudding. Also, it is used to flambé dishes such as crêpe Suzette and cherries jubilee while serving.
St-Rémy Brandy is made only with wines produced from grapes exclusively harvested from the most prestigious French wine-growing regions, such as Burgundy, Champagne, Rhône Valley, Languedoc Roussillon, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, and Beaujolais, giving it its unique elegant character and smoothness for which it is known.
Vecchia Romagna is a grape brandy distilled from Trebbiano grapes in the Italian region of Bologna. Double-distilled, first in heated Charentail alembic that slowly concentrate the aroma and scents of the original wine. This is followed by a faster continuous phase, using “column still” to obtain high alcohol levels in a short time, with the steam providing crucial smoothness to the spirit. The brandy is then aged in custom oak barrels before careful blending and resting to ensure the characteristics of Vecchia Romagna brandies remain unchanged over time.
METAXA is a Greek grape-based brandy featuring rose petals and other botanicals that produce a distinct and unique flavour. The entire production process, from distillation through to ageing and blending, is overseen by master blender Konstantinos Raptis. Using Savatiano, Sultanina, and Black Corinth grapes, along with rose petals and Mediterranean botanicals, Metaxa is an elegant and smooth Greek brandy with a unique taste.
The origins of brandy in France go back to the 12th or 13th centuries, where it was prepared as a medicine called ‘eau de vie’. It became known commercially during the 16th century, when a Dutch merchant distilled French wine to transport to the Netherlands.
Brandy in Italy is mainly obtained from Trebbiano wine or white wine. The first brandy distillery, which would later become Vecchia Romagna, was opened by Jean Buton in 1820 in Bologna.
Metaxa is a Greek brandy made with Muscat wines from the island of Samos, aged wine distillates, Mediterranean botanicals and rose petals. It is made in Athens, Greece.
Boasting ‘2000 hours of sunshine in every bottle,’ Metaxa is a Greek grape-based spirit which is carefully blended from high-quality wood-aged wine distillates, aged Muscat wines, and a secret blend of Mediterranean botanicals and rose petals.
Spyros Metaxa built his first distillery in 1888 in Piraeus, in the port of Athens. Coming from a family of silk merchants, he was an adventurer and a man of taste. As he travelled around the world, he discovered many different spirits and wines.Learn more
The world’s favourite and most prestigious French brandy, St-Rémy is prized by connoisseurs and critics alike since 1886.
The recipe to this fine brandy has been passed down from generation to generation for 130 years. Kept a closely secret, it is known only to our dedicated Master Blenders, well protected in its iconic black bottle.Learn more
The Buton family began perfecting the noble art of distillation in France, where they earned the coveted title of suppliers of the imperial house of Napoleon I. When the regime fell, Jean, the most talented of the Buton heirs, decided to move to Italy.
n 1820, with the help of a local entrepreneur, Jean set up an experimental distillery in Bologna, which would become Vecchia Romagna.
Vecchia Romagna has become one of Italy’s most renowned brandies, hailing from the Italian region of Bologna and made from high-quality Trebbiano grapes.