What makes brandy different from brandy
Such a question can often be found on the Internet. An exhaustive proof of this is a rather common statement saying that any brandy is brandy, but not any brandy is brandy. And so that this statement is not perceived as a beautiful paradox, let’s consider the problem in detail. What is brandy
The term “brandy” includes all strong alcoholic beverages distilled from young grape wine or marc, as well as from fermented fruit or berry juices. Usually their fortress varies between 40 and 60 degrees, but there are exceptions. So, in Western European countries you can find drinks, whose strength does not exceed 35-36 degrees;
The content of grape alcohol in Absinthe can reach 86%; the strength of the brandy used to raise the degrees in fortified wines can be 90 percent by volume. The earliest indisputable references to the practice of the distillation of wine in Europe go back to the XII century. The wines were distilled by merchants for reasons of ease of transportation and an increase in the shelf life of the gifts of the vine. However, there is a legend linking the first experience of making wine into alcohol with the victorious British expedition of William the Conqueror, which took place in 1066.
According to this tradition, the Norman duke and the future English king, thanks to this ingenious solution, reduced the number of wine barrels loaded on his ships and thus had the opportunity to take with them a larger number of mercenaries. When, after successfully crossing the Channel, he ordered the distillate to be diluted with water to its original proportion, his warriors, who had time to taste the new drink, demanded that their leader leave everything as it was. The very word “brandy”, which appeared approximately in the 16th century, is an abbreviated anglicised form of the Dutch “brandewijn” or German “branntwien”, which in translation means burnt (ie, distilled) wine. It was under this name that Dutch merchants offered their goods to residents of the northern countries deprived of vineyards. Brandy classification Numerous brandy type distillates can be classified based on several criteria.
First of all, we are talking about raw materials manufacturing. It is divided into 3 groups: Classical representatives: French Armagnac and cognac of interest to us, Spanish sherry brandy, Bulgarian mastic, factory Turkish raki, Greek ouzo and Metaxa, Armenian arbun, etc. Grape marc remaining after extracting the juice for the needs of winemaking (of which are produced: Italian grappa, canonical Georgian chacha and South Slavic rakia, French mark, Hungarian turkalipalinka and a number of other drinks).
All other berries and fruits The most famous fruit and berry brandies are: apple calvados, cherry kirsch, raspberry framboise, pear williams, peach on de vie, juniper boletus and, of course, the famous plum tree. At the same time, if the bottle does not indicate the type of raw materials used (for example: apricot, cherry, mulberry brandy, etc.), it means, by default, there is a distillate of grape origin.
The criterion for the classification of brandy can also be the presence or absence of a aging period in oak barrels. Based on this, drinks of this type are divided into aged and unseasoned. In the first case, these are mostly wine distillates, which were in barrels for at least six months.