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A list of Brandy drinks that you should know

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In this contribution, we educate you on brandy drinks that you should know. 

Different types of brandies exist because they are produced in different regions of the world and are made from different types of grapes and using different methods of production. The climate, soil, and grape varieties all play a role in determining the final flavor profile of the brandy.

For example:

  • Cognac and Armagnac are both types of brandy that are produced in France, but they come from different regions and are made from different grape varieties. Cognac is made in the Cognac region of France, and is typically made from Ugni Blanc grapes, while Armagnac is made in the Armagnac region of France and is typically made from a blend of grape varieties such as Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Baco Blanc.

  • Metaxa, a Greek brandy, is made from a blend of aged brandies and muscat wines, which give it unique flavors that distinguish it from other brandies.

  • Calvados, is a type of brandy that is made from apples in the Calvados region of France.

  • etc.

Different brandies also have different aging regulations and requirements, which also contribute to their distinct flavors. Some brandies are aged for a minimum of 2 years, while others are aged for much longer, up to several decades. The aging process also plays a role in determining the final flavor profile of the brandy, as the spirit takes on different characteristics from the oak barrels it is aged in.

In addition, different brandies may use different methods of distillation, such as using different types of stills, or different ways of blending the eau-de-vie. All these factors contribute to the creation of different types of brandies, each with its own distinct flavor profile.

Some of the most famous brandy drinks include:

  1. Cognac - a type of brandy that is made in the Cognac region of France.

  2. Armagnac - a type of brandy that is made in the Armagnac region of France.

  3. Brandy Alexander - a cocktail made with brandy, crème de cacao, and cream.

  4. Brandy Old Fashioned - a cocktail made with brandy, sugar, bitters, and a citrus peel.

  5. Brandy Sour - a cocktail made with brandy, lemon juice, and sugar.

  6. Brandy Manhattan - a cocktail made with brandy, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

  7. Metaxa - a Greek brandy made from a blend of aged brandies and muscat wines.

Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy that is made in the Cognac region of France, which is located in the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments in the west of the country. It is made from white wine grapes, typically Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard, which are distilled twice in copper pot stills, then aged in oak barrels.

One special thing about cognac is that it must be aged for a minimum of two years before it can be sold as cognac, however many cognacs are aged for much longer, up to several decades, to develop a more complex flavor profile.

Another special thing about cognac is that it is divided into different grades based on the length of its aging: VS (Very Special) or *** (Three Stars) must be aged at least two years, VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) must be aged at least four years, and XO (Extra Old) must be aged at least six years.

In addition to that, Cognac is also a AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) regulated product, which means that it must meet certain standards in terms of production, aging and geographical origin in order to carry the name "Cognac"

Cognac is traditionally served neat, or on the rocks and can also be used in cocktails.

Armagnac Brandy

Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the Armagnac region of Gascony, France. It is made from a blend of white wine grapes, typically Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Baco Blanc, that are distilled in a small, copper pot still called an "alambic." The resulting eau-de-vie is then aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, although many Armagnac producers age their brandy for much longer, sometimes up to several decades.

Armagnac is considered to be one of the oldest types of brandy in the world, with production dating back to the 14th century. It is known for its rich, complex flavor profile, which can include notes of vanilla, caramel, and dried fruit. Armagnac is typically sipped neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used in cocktails.

Armagnac is also a AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) regulated product, which means that it must meet certain standards in terms of production and aging in order to carry the name "Armagnac."

Brandy Alexander

The Brandy Alexander is a classic cocktail that is made with brandy, crème de cacao, and cream. It is typically served in a cocktail glass and is garnished with grated nutmeg or chocolate shavings.

The origins of the Brandy Alexander are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been created in the early 20th century, possibly around the time of the end of Prohibition in the United States. Some say it was created to celebrate the wedding of Prince Alexander of Teck and Princess Alice of Albany in 1904.

The Brandy Alexander is a sweet and creamy cocktail that is perfect for sipping after a meal. The brandy provides a smooth, warming base for the drink, while the crème de cacao and cream give it a rich, chocolaty flavor. The grated nutmeg or chocolate shavings garnish on top adds a nice aroma and a touch of complexity to the drink.

To make a Brandy Alexander, you will need:

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz crème de cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream

Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with grated nutmeg or chocolate shavings.

Brandy Old Fashioned

The Brandy Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that is made with brandy, sugar, bitters, and a citrus peel. It is typically served in a lowball glass over ice, and garnished with a twist of citrus peel.

The Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that has a long history, and the Brandy Old Fashioned is a variation of the original Old Fashioned cocktail which was typically made with whiskey. Brandy Old Fashioned is considered as a popular variation of the original Old Fashioned, it is said to have first appeared in the late 1800s.

To make a Brandy Old Fashioned, you will need:

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tsp simple syrup or a sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Orange or lemon peel

First, put the sugar or simple syrup and bitters in the glass, add a splash of water or a couple of cubes of ice, then add the brandy. Stir the ingredients together and garnish with the citrus peel.

The Brandy Old Fashioned is a strong and flavorful drink, with the brandy providing a smooth and warming base, while the sugar, bitters, and citrus peel add complexity and balance to the drink. It's a perfect cocktail for sipping slowly and savoring the flavors.

Brandy Sour

The Brandy Sour is a classic cocktail that is made with brandy, lemon juice, and sugar. It is typically served in a lowball glass over ice, and garnished with a cherry and a slice of lemon or orange.

The Brandy Sour is a variation of the Whiskey Sour which is one of the oldest known mixed drinks. The first written recipe for a "whiskey sour" was in the 1862 book "The Bon Vivant's Companion" by Jerry Thomas, the father of American mixology. The brandy sour is believed to have appeared in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as a variation of the original whiskey sour.

To make a Brandy Sour, you will need:

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • Maraschino cherry and a slice of lemon or orange for garnish

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass over ice. Garnish with a cherry and a slice of lemon or orange.

The Brandy Sour is a refreshing and well-balanced cocktail, with the brandy providing a smooth and warming base, while the lemon juice and sugar add a tart and sweet flavor. The cherry and citrus garnish add a nice touch of color and aroma to the drink. It's a perfect cocktail for sipping on a hot summer day or as a pre-dinner drink.

Brandy Manhattan

The Brandy Manhattan is a classic cocktail that is made with brandy, sweet vermouth, and bitters. It is typically served in a martini glass, and garnished with a cherry.

The Manhattan cocktail is believed to have originated at the Manhattan Club in New York City in the early 1870s, where it was made with Rye whiskey. The Brandy Manhattan, like other variations of the Manhattan, is a variation of the original Manhattan cocktail that uses brandy instead of whiskey as the base spirit.

To make a Brandy Manhattan, you will need:

  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

Stir the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Brandy Manhattan is a smooth and elegant cocktail, with the brandy providing a rich and warming base, while the sweet vermouth and bitters add depth and complexity. The cherry garnish adds a nice touch of color and sweetness to the drink. It's a perfect cocktail for sipping after a meal or as a special occasion drink.

Metaxa Brandy

Metaxa is a Greek brandy that is made from a blend of aged brandies and muscat wines. It is produced by the Metaxa company, which was founded by a Greek businessman named Spyros Metaxa in 1888.

The brandy is made by blending aged brandy distillates with muscat wines from the island of Samos. The blended spirit is then aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years. The final product is a smooth, amber-colored brandy that has a complex flavor profile, with notes of dried fruit, vanilla, and caramel.

Metaxa brandy comes in different age statements, and the most common one is the Metaxa 7 Star, which is aged for at least 7 years and considered as the flagship of the brand. There is also Metaxa 12 Stars and Metaxa Private Reserve, aged for at least 12 years and 20 years respectively.

Metaxa is typically served neat, or on the rocks, and can also be used in cocktails. It is a great after-dinner drink, and its rich and complex flavors make it a great choice for sipping slowly and savoring the flavors.