Brandy is one of the most popular liquors that comes from distilled wine or other fruit spirits. It can have an alcohol concentration between 30% and 60% and can be the best drink at the end of your dinner. However, if you like the taste of brandy, you can enjoy it at other times of the day as well.
Brandy can have different flavors according to the fruits used to make it. However, you will distinguish a sweet taste mixed with a fruity flavor and a mild citrus taste in most types of brandy. There are brands of brandy that come with a discrete oak taste because they are aged in barrels made of this type of wood.
Different types and taste profiles
There is no one, set in stone taste for brandy. You will find that each type of brandy brings its flavor and aroma to the table. Let’s look at the six types of brandy that you can find on the market and their specific taste profile.
1. Pisco brandy
Pisco comes from chile and Peru and it is made primarily from grapes. The name Pisco is inspired by the port in Peru with the same name and this type of brandy became popular in other parts of the world as well.
Thanks to its grape flavor, the aroma of Pisco is similar to a wine aroma. There is also a mild sweetness to this brandy as well as a tart aftertaste.
2. Brandy de Jerez
The Spanish brandy de Jerez has a more dynamic flavor compared to other types of brandy. This brandy has a fried fruit taste, a caramelized sweetness, and a mild salty flavor, all in one sip. Brandy de Jerez originated in Spain’s Sherry Triangle. It is made of grapes but also other fruits, giving it a quite distinctive flavor.
You can find this brandy in other parts of the world but it remains a specific drink for Spain.
A type of brandy specific to the Normandy region is Calvados. This brandy can be made of apples or pears or even a combination of these two fruits. It is made only in Normandy though, as it is a signature drink for this region.
The pears and apples give Calvados its captivating taste. But depending on the recipe, this brandy can have a mild taste of apricot, flowers, and even sweet pastries. It is more difficult to find Calvados brandy outside Normandy but if you get it, it is worth a taste.
4. Applejack brandy
Applejack brandy was made in 1968 in New Jersey. Since the main ingredient of this brand is apple juice, its taste and aroma are both coming from the apple as well. But the more you drink it, the more you will find it resembling apple whiskey. It has a mild sweetness and a delicate flavor that is widely appreciated.
5. Kirschwasser brandy
Kirschwasser, also known as Kirsch, is a brandy made from cherries. However, this type of brandy is not sweet. It has a defined cherry flavor and aroma that makes it a suitable ingredient in cherry cakes and toppings. This type of brandy is also used in sauces and it is less popular as a drink on its own. Kirsch also has a mildly bitter taste that makes it different from other types of drinks.
6. Grappa brandy
The last but not the least type of brandy is Grappa. It is specific to Italy, San Marino, and Switzerland. Grappa is made from pomace that comes from whiskin, seeds, pulp, and steam. Even if this type of brandy can be made in other parts of the world as well, Grappa remains a brand that is specific to Italy.
The sweetness of Grappa comes from berries but you will also be able to notice a caramel and honey taste. The aroma of this brandy is more intense compared to other types, similar to a luxury perfume.
How would you describe the taste of brandy?
In short, brandy can be described as a sweet and fruity alcoholic beverage. But the different varieties of this drink make it difficult to establish a common flavor or aroma. Brandy can be made from different fruits and the ingredients as well as the aging time, both define the final taste of such a drink.
You will have to try the different types of brandy before you decide which one you prefer. Note that some brandy is more suitable for cooking rather than drinking and others can taste better in cocktails rather than plain. As you saw in the six types of brandy, they might be similar in terms of taste but they all come with distinctive notes that can make all the difference for you.
But you can expect all your brandy drinks to come with a fruity taste, similar to wine, even if the sweetness and flavor intensity will vary from one brand to another.
Is brandy easy to drink straight?
Yes, brandy is such a well-defined drink that it can be enjoyed plain, with a few ice cubes. If you don’t want to drink it with ice, you can have your brandy at room temperature.
Many people like to warm up the glass of brandy in their hands, in a similar way they do with whiskey. It is said that the heat coming from the hand, releases aroma in the drink by helping to open up its molecules.
You can even warm up the glass with hot water, and dry it before pouring your brandy into it. There will be a similar effect on your drink and chances are that its aroma will be stronger.
If you prefer your brandy with ice, it is recommended to use only one ice cube that comes in a large size. Using more ice cubes will dilute the drink and alter its original flavor. Give your brandy time to cool down and enjoy it in small sips.
What tastes better whiskey or brandy?
Brandy is often compared to whiskey but, while the opinions are split, the majority of people will lean towards whiskey when it comes to making their choice.
Brandy tends to be sweeter than whiskey, which is not something that everyone likes. On the other hand, the flavor of whiskey is smoother in fruity notes, if it has any at all, compared to brandy since it comes from grains. If you like alcoholic drinks with intense sweetness, and fruity taste as well as a rich aroma, you will prefer brandy.
However, if you appreciate alcoholic beverages that come with less sweetness and a milder taste, whiskey might be the choice for you.
Both whiskey and brandy have their place in your drink bar as you can combine them in cocktails but also enjoy them plain. And at the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preferences since you can’t fail with either of these drinks.
What does brandy taste like compared to wine?
Brandy and wine can be similar in terms of fruity flavors, especially if the brandy is made out of grapes. But as a general rule, brandy doesn’t taste exactly like wine as it can be made from different fruits. Brandy that is aged more than two years, is known as mature brandy and has a more defined taste and aroma compared to brandy that is aged less.
However, since many types of brandy are made from distilled wine, you will notice an obvious resemblance not just in taste but also in acidity level. Brandy can be sweeter than wine, and it can have an oak note that makes it distinctive. In terms of flavor, you will recognize the smooth sweetness of wine but also other notes that your brandy acquires during distillation and aging time.
Since the alcohol level of brandy is between 30% and 60%, this will give it a stronger alcoholic taste than wine which is typically between 12% and 15% ABV.
What does brandy taste like compared to whiskey?
Whiskey and brandy are two of the most appreciated drinks worldwide. Brandy is usually sweeter than whiskey, with a more defined caramel or honey flavor. The fruity flavor in brandy is also more defined compared to whiskey.
The taste of whiskey can be defined as malty, smoky, and briny. And while the flavor of whiskey is rather complex, it is not resembling the fruity, sweet taste of brandy much. There are types of whiskey that have a cinnamon flavor to them and even a tobacco flavor or a mild spicy taste.
The difference in taste between these two types of alcoholic beverages comes from the fact that brandy uses fermented fruits as its main ingredient while whiskey uses fermented grain mash.
Both drinks can be enjoyed equally but the flavor of brandy makes it more suitable at the end of a meal while whiskey can be a great starter as well. Also, the types of brandy and whiskey that you try will offer you slightly different flavors as well, and they are not all coming in the same sweetness either.
The best way is to try both of these drinks plain and you will get a good idea regarding their taste. So, you will know what to choose without a doubt next time you reach for a drink.
How to drink brandy
Brandy is such an adaptable drink that you can enjoy it in several ways. And you might discover that you prefer your brandy different, in different circumstances.
You can enjoy it warm during chili weather. At the same time, you can drink your brandy with ice on a hot summer day. If you drink it plain, chances are that you will enjoy it better at the end of your meal since it is sweet and will be the perfect touch for your dinner.
The Neat way to drink brandy is to enjoy it plain, with no ice or other ingredients. If you add ice to your glass of brandy, your drink becomes brandy on the rocks. Knowing this type of terminology is very useful when you order your brandy drink in a bar or restaurant.
Also, it is important to serve your brandy as soon as you pour it into your glass. You don’t need to let it breathe, and you can enjoy it as soon as you opened the bottle. Make sure you take a few seconds to enjoy its rich aroma though.
Some brandy types have an intense perfume that shouldn’t go by unappreciated as it adds to the entire experience of enjoying this drink. To get the best scent of its aroma, hold your brandy glass at the level of your chest and allow its perfume to spoil your senses.
When you pour your brandy, turn the glass horizontally and pour until the drink reaches the rim. A brandy shot should have between 1.5 ounces and 2 ounces, depending on the glass you are using.
You can also use brandy in different cocktails to enhance their flavor and aroma. Brandy Alexander, Eggnog Brandy, The Woodsman, or the Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned are only a few of the cocktails that contain brandy.
Ultimately, the way you prefer your brandy will depend on your personal preference. However, this type of drink is very versatile, and you will find a way to make the best out of it.
Brandy is one of those drinks that can be suitable for many occasions. You can have it when you are out with your friends or at home, after a long day at work when you want to relax. But ultimately, brandy can add value to any type of dinner and be just what you need to look like a considerate host.
Treat your friends and family with this drink and enjoy their company! Don’t underestimate the quality brandy has as an ingredient in cocktails. This beverage can add personality and a great flavor to many cocktails, and you would be missing out by not trying it as such.