Cocktails | Product | Liquor Trolley | Glossary of Terms


Brandy, (derived from Dutch brandewijn - "burnt wine") is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35–60% alcohol by volume (70–120 US proof) and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink. Some brandies are aged in wooden casks, while some are simply coloured with caramel colouring to imitate the effect of such aging (and some brandies are produced using a combination of both aging and colouring).

Brandy is also produced from fermented fruits other than grapes, but these products are typically named eaux-de-vie, especially in French. In some countries, fruit flavouring or some other flavouring may be added to a spirit that is called "brandy".  

Cognac:- is an area in central western France and only brandy made from grapes from six vineyards within that area can be called Cognac. Cognac is distilled from fermented grapes and is therefore a "spirit" and is served at around 40 degrees by alcoholic volume. Cognac, as with other styles of brandy are aged differently and can be recognised by their label markings:
   VS - Very Superior (three stars) where the youngest brandy in the blend is aged at least two years in oak casks.
   VSOP - Very Superior Old Pale where the youngest brandy in the blend is aged for at least four years in barrels.
   XO - Extra Old  where the youngest of the brandies within is aged for a minimum of six years.
   Napoleon - Legendry drank by the Emperor himself. The youngest of the brandies are aged for a minimum of six years.
   Extra - .at least 6 years aged in barrels. This grade is usually older than a Napoleon or an XO.
   Executive Blends -  ( "Louise XIII" - "Paradis" ) The youngest in the blend is six years, oldest can be over one hundred years. 
Armagnac:- was first referenced in writing in 1411, two centuries before anyone heard of cognac. Situated in the south west region of France its grapes are of the same varietals as cognac but it experiences extreme weather differences, from bone chilling winds in winter to burning summer heat. The region is watered by several small rivers that descend from the Lannemezan plateau; Armagnac is arguably a superior brandy to cognac but like any competitive product, it is down to the consumer. Both areas produce excellent brandy.
Calvados:- is an apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy. Norman apple brandy gradually caught on around Europe to the extent that in 1684 the English apple growers were challenged to produce brandy from their cider to stop the flood of foreign brandy. In France, before the Revolution, the sale of Norman apple brandy was limited to the area in which it was produced as a way of protecting the market held by the long established wine-based brandies, Armagnac and Cognac.
Eaux de Vie:-is a French term for fruit brandy and translates to "water of life". Made from a variety of fruit, the best comes from the Alsace wine region in France. Eaux de vie is unadulterated and is a very light spirit. Many people enjoy it cold or poured over dessert and it should be taken unadulterated which means no mixers. 
The most popular eaux de vies are: "de pomme" (apple), "de poire william" (pear), "de peche" (peach), "de mirabelle" (plumb) and "de framboise" (raspberry).