Types of Brandy

Different types of Brandy

By Sina Torner / Last updated on October 27, 2022 

First published on October 14, 2022 

Brandy is a generic term for alcoholic beverages distilled from wine or fruit mashes. And you will be surprised how many types of Brandy there are and how versatile it is.

Brandy can be a beautiful and aromatic product. Yet, when thinking of Brandy, many think of cheap spirits of inferior quality. Some imagine quite the contrary: elderly men sitting at Gentlemen's clubs sipping and swirling Brandy in their snifters. 

So much about the cliches. However, while Brandy is, indeed, a great liquor to enjoy neat and unchilled, it long outgrew the Gentlemen's clubs. And you might be surprised that some of your favorite quality spirits belong to the Brandy family.

Brandy is a popular ingredient in many classic cocktail recipes. Being such an essential cocktail ingredient, you should also have it in your home bar. 

In this article, you find an overview of the different types of Brandy and also some of the most common mixers.

Popular Brandy types

One of the main reasons why Brandy drinks and cocktails are so popular is their versatility. 

Brandy is made of fermented fruit wine based on grapes, apples, blackberries, apricots, or blends of the before-mentioned. Therefore, the resulting aromas and texture of the Brandy vary widely. 

Often, a Brandy gets named after the regions where it originates.

To give you a better idea of this, here are the common types of Brandy in alphabetical order:

Armagnac

Armagnac is a very traditional and quite well-known Brandy made of grape wine in the Armagnac region. 

It is distilled once and then ages for ten years. The result is a warm and comforting Brandy best enjoyed neat or in a Brandy version of an Old Fashioned.

Brandy de Jerez

Brandy de Jerez is a Spanish grape-based Brandy. Produced in the Jerez area in Andalusia, this Brandy matures in Sherry casks. That is another perfect example of a Brandy that is perfect for drinking neat.

Calvados

Calvados is a french Brandy from Normandy. It is based on apples and aged in oak barrels. The intense notes of apple and wood in this spirit are excellent for creating riffs on classic Brandy cocktails.

A beautiful example of a cocktail made with Calvados is the Angel Face.

Cognac

Cognac, probably the most famous French Brandy, is based on grapes. It is harvested and produced in the Cognac region, north of Bordeaux. The full-bodied spirit is great for simple Brandy drinks made with only a mixer, some of which are listed below.

Usually, Cognac is produced by established and respected brands. Remy Martin and Hennessy are just two of them. But there are also more recent celebrity expressions like Branson Cognac.

To learn more about the premium Brandy, read our Guide to Cognac.

Eau-de-vie

Eau-de-Vie Brandies are colorless and unaged Brandies made of different sorts of fruits. They have a dominant fruit taste and work great in cocktails and Brandy drinks made with mixers.

Grappa

Grappa is an Italian Brandy. It's part of a category that's called pomace Brandy. 

This class of Brandy is made of grapes as well. But unlike the other types, pomace Brandies are made of leftovers from the wine production processes. 

Even so, Grappa is a world-famous Brandy best enjoyed as a digestif. If you want to try it in a cocktail, the Ve.n.to is a beautiful option.

Pisco

Yes, Pisco, too, is actually a type of Brandy. The famous Latin American spirit, native to Peru and Chile, is the main ingredient for the world-famous Pisco Sour cocktail.

More about the aromatic grape spirit:

Various fruit Brandies

Fruit Brandies tend to be very aromatic. Commonly made of apple, cherry, or pear, these flavorsome spirits are great in cocktails and other Brandy drinks.

While you can drink most of them neat, some prefer some dilution by adding an ice cube or some soda water.

Suitable mixers for Brandy

Brandy is often drunk neat or in cocktails. So, if you're looking for cocktails, here's a list of the best Brandy cocktails. 

However, an option many let aside is a simple Brandy drink created with just a single mixer. 

Amaretto: the sweet Italian liqueur with the almondy tastes works sensationally well with Cognac. Mixing the two also gets you the famous French Connection.

Lemonade: Brandy and lemonade make for some excellent summer drinks. Unaged Brandy, like Pisco, works best here.

Champagne: picking up on the base of various brandies like Pisco, Grappa, and Brandy de Jerez, the combination with Champagne also works nicely.

Cola: One of the most classic mixers out there. For some, the sugary soft drink works with almost everything. I'm not the biggest fan, but palates are different.

Cocoa: Nothing can go wrong with a cup of hot chocolate and a good splash of Brandy.

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