Smooth and classy: enjoying brandy

Brandy is one of the popular spirits enjoyed by many. Typically served as an after-dinner drink, it contains about 35% to 60% alcohol by volume. Traditionally aged in oak casks, this spirit is produced by distilling wine. The distillation process is delicate, done slowly so as to let the flavors emerge thoroughly. Brandies get their color from being stored in oak casks. Those aged in earthenware or paraffin-lined casks don’t get this distinct color so caramel solutions are added to darken the batch.

Brandy lends a certain kind of image to its drinkers. As it is delicately produced, so is the process of savoring this spirit. Warmed by hand before taken, a brandy drink requires a certain level of poise and classiness. The drink is usually taken warm but it can also be enjoyed chilled, sipped from a snifter. The warmed variety will have a more pungent taste and the chilled becomes smoother and thicker, featuring a less distinct burn on the throat. Different brandies will take on different flavors so try different until you find what suits you.

The best brandy will depend really on your personal preferences. However, the kind of brandy that Jerez de la Frontera in Andaluca, Spain produces is the kind you hear on a lot of people’s lips. What sets apart brandies from Jerez de la Frontera is that they make use of the solera system in the aging process. In the solera system, fresh, new brandies combine with older brandies, creating a unique aging process with the aim of putting together the best qualities of different kinds of brandies. Jerez de la Frontera is just one of the many towns in Andaluca producing brandies. And Andaluca produces about 95% of the total production of Spain. Spain has the distinction of producing the most brandies than any other country in Europe.