Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Most probably it is the first type of spirit that was produced as people were experimenting with the distillation processes. Brandy was mainly produced to transport the wine on ships in the 18th century, by concentrating the wine and then adding water when at the destination. Since brandy was contained in oak barrels, these added a pleasant aroma and flavour and thus people started enjoying it without diluting it into wine. The most famous areas for brandy are the French regions of Cognac and Armagnac.
Brandy was the most consumed spirit until the middle of the 19th century, when the Phylloxera bug devastated almost all the European vineyards, thus decimating the brandy stocks. Most of the classical cocktails that we have today used brandy as one of the ingredients back then.
The main differences in brandy are mainly the region which it comes from, the type of grapes used and most importantly the ageing of it.
Brandy is usually served neat, with a drop of water or on ice. One can also use brandy to make cocktails.
At The Vineyard one will find a nice range of brandies, from the entry-level ones to the finer and more aged.