Brandy is a distilled spirit, produced from fermented grapes, or other fruit. It is usually aged in wooden casks and contains from 35% ABV to 60% ABV. It first appeared in the 12th century and gained huge popularity by the 14th century. At first, wine was distilled, probably, to make it cheaper and easier to transport by merchants, with the intent of adding water later to restore the original qualities of the beverage. But the resulting beverage turned out to have significantly different qualities, dramatically improving after spending some time in wooden barrels. Brandies can be classified into grape brandies and fruit brandies. Grape brandies can be differentiated by the country of origin, notably Armagnac – made from grapes that come from the Armagnac region in Southwest of France, and aged in Limousin and Gascony oak casks; Cognac – distilled from the Cognac region in France; Grappa – distilled in Italy; Pisco – a colorless spirit, that comes from Peru; Metaxa – spirit distilled in Greece; and many other countries. Fruit brandies are distilled from other fruit besides grapes, such as Applejack – American brandy, distilled from apples; Calvados – apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy; Kirschwasser – a fruit brandy made from cherries, and many others. Brandy is best enjoyed in a snifter as an after-dinner drink, or mixed in a cocktail.


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