How To Drink Brandy

A bar should have plenty of different types of drinks available. Brandies are an excellent choice, as long as they’re served correctly.

Brandy is a very traditional drink that used to be enjoyed after dinner. Its popularity is growing again, which means it is now more readily available in different bars and restaurants.

How To Drink Brandy

But what exactly is brandy? And what is the best way to drink it?

If you want to know more about brandy then keep reading. We have put together this useful guide which tells you everything you need to know about drinking brandy.

What Is Brandy?

Alcohol is categorized into different types. Brandy is a hard liquor- these tend to be made from fruit wine that has been distilled and then aged in a barrel.

The fruit doesn’t have to be grapes, it could be peaches, pears, apples, or even blackberries. The different fruit creates interesting flavor profiles with unique tasting notes.

The aging process also has a big impact on the flavor. The longer it is aged in the barrel, the richer the color will become and the more smooth and complex the flavor will be.

Brandy that is drunk immediately after distilling is usually used as a mixer, whereas aged brandy is drunk straight.

So what is the best way to drink brandy?

How To Drink Brandy?

There are three main ways to enjoy your brandy. Which one you choose depends on how you like to drink alcohol.

Neat Brandy

You can drink brandy neat. This means it is served on its own with no additional mixers and no ice. It will have a strong taste, as the flavor will be undiluted. If you enjoy the taste of strong alcohol then this will be ideal for you.

On The Rocks

Another way to drink brandy is served over ice. This will bring the temperature of the drink down and make it last longer. As the ice melts, a bit of water will mix with the brandy and gradually dilute the flavor.

Brandy Cocktails

Brandy can be mixed with various soft drinks, juices, syrups, and other types of alcohol to create delicious cocktails. If you prefer long drinks rather than short drinks, this is the perfect way for you to enjoy brandy.

A lot of people have a favorite way to enjoy brandy, or some enjoy all three. When you serve brandy, you can pour it straight from the bottle. It doesn’t need to breathe first like certain types of wine.

How To Serve Brandy On The Rocks

The best brandies to serve on the rocks are aged brandies – 2 to 6 years is ideal. The rich flavor and complexity are perfect for enjoying the refreshing element of ice. These tips will help you to serve the perfect brandy on the rocks.

Before you add ice to your brandy, try a sip of it neat. It is important to appreciate the different flavors and to compare the room temperature experience to the chilled experience.

How To Drink Brandy

Swirl the brandy in the glass to take in the scent and see the viscosity of the liquid.

Another great tip for serving brandy on the rocks is to use a special ice mold to create one large ice cube. It will melt slower than multiple smaller ice cubes, preventing the brandy from becoming too diluted.

Once you have added the ice cube, let the brandy chill for several minutes before sipping it. This will give it time to drop to the right temperature.

Make sure you sip your brandy nice and slowly. It is a drink that is designed to be enjoyed slowly so you can appreciate the complex and layered flavors.

What Is Cognac?

You might have heard of Cognac, a special type of brandy. It is made in one place only- the Cognac region of France. It is made with three different types of grapes that only grow in that one region.

The brandy is distilled twice before it is aged. The Cognac is aged in a barrel for at least 2 years to bring out the richness of the fruit and smokiness of the oak barrel.

What Is Armagnac?

Armagnac is another kind of special brandy that is made in the Armagnac region of France. It is very fruity, with sweet notes of caramel and toffee. It has a higher alcohol content than Cognac.

Is French Brandy The Best?

Whilst Cognac and Armagnac are often considered to be the best types of Brandy, there are lots of other great brands that come from various places all over the world.

Calvados is a lovely variety of Spanish brandy, and Pisco is a brandy that comes from South America. There are also lots of delicious brandies that are made in the United States.

The Aging Process

The longer the brandy is aged for, the more complex the flavor will be. The color will also get richer and deeper. The label on the brandy bottle will tell you how long it was aged for before it was bottled.

The categories are:

  • VS- Very special Brandy – Aged for at least two years
  • VSOP – Very Special Old Pale – Aged for at least four years
  • XO – Extra Old – Aged for at least six years
  • Hors D’Age – A French term that means ‘beyond age’ – Aged for at least 30 years

Which Glass Should You Use To Serve Brandy?

Most people drink their glasses out of a snifter- this is a special glass used for brandy. It has a wide base that intensifies the aroma of the alcohol.

The narrow mouth of the glass directs those aromas towards your nose as you drink the brandy, making the experience more immersive and enjoyable.

Snifters and wine glasses look similar as they both have a wide bowl, but brandy glasses have a much shorter stem. They come in various different sizes.


Brandy is a classic drink usually enjoyed after dinner. There are several ways to enjoy brandy depending on your taste.

Robert Kaser
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