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Brandy & Cognac

Brandy and Cognac

Although all Cognacs are classed as brandy, not all brandy can be called a Cognac. Cognac is a specific type of French brandy that is produced in the wine-growing region of the same name. In order for a drink to be classed as a cognac it has to meet a number of legal requirements. Cognacs must be made from at least 90% Ugni, Folle Blanche and Colombard grapes.  It must also be distilled twice in special copper pot stills and aged for at least two years in oak barrels.

Traditional French cognac making
The process of making Cognac involves pressing the special types of grapes mentioned above and leaving the juice to ferment for two to three weeks. This allows the wild yeasts in the grapes to convert the sugar into alcohol. Once the juice has fermented it will be distilled in copper stills. Unlike other types of brandy, cognac must be distilled twice. The colourless spirit is then aged in oak barrels for at least two years.

Brandy traditions
Brandy is also made from fermented grapes, but it can also be made from other types of fruit like apples and cherries. Like cognacs, brandies are produced by distilling wine. Most brandies have an ABV between thirty five and sixty per cent. Brandy is usually thought of as an after dinner drink that can be served in a number of different ways. In Europe brandy is usually served neat. Many people like to warm their brandy before drinking it, by cupping the glass in the palm of their hand. In Asian countries brandy is often served over ice. It is supposed to be sipped and savoured, rather than drank as a shot.

In Britain Christmas pudding is served as part of the Christmas dinner. It is traditional to pour brandy over the Christmas pudding and set it on fire. The lights are then switched off as the flaming pudding is carried over to the family dining table. Christmas pudding can be served with custard or a sauce made from brandy.

Here at Beers of Europe we pride ourselves in offering the best selection of brandy and cognac to our customers.

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