Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Quick Drink: Brandy

Of all the boozes, brandy appears to be the most uppercrust and pretentious of them all. Brandy even requires its own glass, the snifter, which sounds like an accessory to powdered tobacco rather than a vessel of inebriation. Brandy has such an exclusive air that even scotch drinkers call her twee. Brandy even has a masters level called Cognac, which requires a smoking jacket, manor house, and a chauffeur to even buy a bottle.

All snobbery aside, brandy is a vastly misunderstood alcohol. Let's start with what it is. Brandy is a spirit, normally distilled from wine. Other spirits like gin and vodka are generally distilled from grain. Brandies can also be made from fruits like pears, oranges, or apples, but technically these are called eaux-de-vie. A few years ago, I received a gift of three bottles of French eau-de-vie: Kirsch, pear, and plum. The few months after that are a blur. Use extreme caution.  

Not surprisingly, brandy production is most common in areas that produce wine. From left to right above, pisco from Peru, Spanish gran reserva brandy, and commodity brandy. The Christian Brothers brandy isn't for sipping, but does very well as an instrument to deglaze pans and for the occasional milk punch or Alexander. Use pisco in a classic pisco sour made with whatever citrus is available, currently that means grapefruits. Spanish gran reserva brandy works very well with a large chunk of dark chocolate.

A couple hundred words on brandy and not once did I mention this song? Its good to be back after my Hogs hiatus, but give me a few days to get warmed up.


thomas cook said...

I was beginning to fear this encyclopedia was being left for dead on an iceberg. Glad to have you back. Could you take the time to explain why the Peruvian Brandy says "Italia".

thomas cook said...

I should have known better. Italia is the grape variety.

Yepi said...

What a great initiative here. I'll look around the site and see if I can offer any additional ideas. Thanks.