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Brandy (derived from Dutch brandewijn or “burnt wine”)[1] is a spirit produced by distilling wine or the product of other fermented fruits.[2]



The first step to making most brandies is pressing fruit such as grapes, apples, or stone fruits to yield their juice and/or mash. This juice is then inoculated with yeast and fermented into wine.[2][3] Next, the wine is distilled using pot or column stills to produce a high-alcohol liquor.[3] If aging the distillate, it is usually transferred to oak barrels where it will mellow over time and develop new flavors.[3] The finished brandy is finally mixed and diluted to the manufacturer's specifications before bottling.[3]



Depending on the region of production, brandy usually contains 40–60% alcohol by volume.[3] Compared to other liquors, brandies tend to be fruity in flavor—their exact characteristics will depend on the fruit used and whether/how long the brandy is aged, and the flavor mellows over time.[3][4] On rare occasions, brandy may be sweetened like liqueurs.[3]



Grape brandy


Grape brandy is produced by the distillation of fermented grapes (wine). Some specific varieties include the following:

  • Armagnac: made from grapes of the Armagnac region in Southwest of France (Gers, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne); single-continuous distilled in a copper still and aged in oak casks from Gascony or Limousin
  • Brandy de Jerez: aged in American oak-wood casks with a capacity of 500 litres, previously having contained Sherry Wine, in Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María, or Sanlúcar de Barrameda; essential ingredient to sherry
  • Cognac: from the Cognac region of France; double distilled using pot stills

Fruit brandy


Fruit brandies are distilled from fruits other than grapes. Apples, plums, peaches, cherries, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apricots are the most commonly used fruits. Fruit brandy is usually clear and 40–45% alcohol by volume. It can be drunk chilled or over ice. Specific varieties include the following:

  • Calvados: apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy; double distilled from fermented apples
  • Eau-de-vie: general French term for fruit brandy
  • German Schnaps: produced in Germany or Austria
  • Kirschwasser: made from cherries
  • Palinka: traditional Hungarian fruit brandy; can be made from any kind of fruit; most often from plums, apricots, elderberries, pears, or cherries; less commonly made from apples, peaches, or walnuts
  • Slivovice: made from plums; by law must contain at least 52% ABV; produced in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland
  • Slivovitz: made from plums; traditional drink in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia
  • Tuica: clear Romanian fruit brandy made from plums, apples, pears, apricots, mulberries, peaches, quinces, or mixtures of these; Romania and Moldova also produce a grape brandy called vin ars (burnt wine) or divin.

Pomace brandy


Pomace brandy specifically is produced by fermentation and distillation of the grape skins, seeds, and stems that remain after the grapes have been pressed to extract their juice (which is then used to make wine).[2] Examples include the Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian lozovača (loza), Cypriot zivania, French marc, Georgian chacha, German Tresterbrand, Greek tsipouro, Hungarian törköly, Italian grappa, Bulgarian grozdova, Portuguese aguardente, Romanian rachiu de tescovina, and Spanish orujo.

Most pomace brandy is not aged or coloured. Alcohol derived from pomace is also used as the traditional base spirit of other liquors from wine-making regions, such as Greek ouzo and other aniseed liquors.

Brandy can be consumed on its own or as part of mixed drinks, or used in cooking to provide flavor.[3][4] Brandy snaps are a particular variety of cookie using brandy as a flavoring, and brandy butter is a dessert sauce flavored with the liquor.[4] Various creams and fillings can be flavored with brandy—especially when paired with the fruit used to make the brandy—and dried fruits can be soaked in brandy to plump them.[3][5]




  1. The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu (2011-12-02). Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Foundations. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4390-5713-1.
  2. a b c "The Serious Eats Guide to Brandy". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  3. a b c d e f g h i "Brandy 101: Characteristics of a Timeless Liquor". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-10.
  4. a b c Rinsky, Glenn; Rinsky, Laura Halpin (2008-02-28). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0.
  5. Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.