Brandy: History and Facts

There are some interesting tidbits about Brandy we think you should know. Some are historical and some are just generally awesome facts. Have you ever ordered the famous dessert Crêpe Suzette? Brandy is the liquid used to flambe the dessert just prior to serving.

Concentrated alcoholic beverages were known to be in existence in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. Brandy began to appear, because of distillation, sometime during the 12th century and became generally popular during the 14th century. At first, merchants distilled wine, to make it easier to transport, but then discovered that by keeping it in wooden casks, it improved over time.

In 1647, in England, Thomas Daffy came up with Daffy’s Elixir, which was a patent medicine that became quite popular. And guess what… it contained brandy :).

Cognac

Photo Credit: Sergey Melkonov

Cognac is a brandy that only comes from the Cognac region of France, and is always double distilled using pot stills. Some of the most popular brands of Cognac include Martell, Camus, Rémy Martin, Hennessy, Frapin, Delamain, Hine, Otard, and Courvoisier.

In Turkey they have Kanyak, a variation of “cognac”, which means “burn blood” because it warms you in cold weather. There is also a coconut brandy made from the sap of the coconut flowers. Delicious!

Applejack is an American variety of apple brandy made from the distillation of hard cider from apples. In the French region of Lower Normandy they have a brandy derived by double distilling fermented apples, and it’s called Calvados. In Romania, they have fruit brandy made from plums, apples, pears, apricots, mulberries, peaches, quinces, or mixtures of these, and they call it Tuică.

The first alcoholic drink believed to be consumed in outer space was the Greek distilled spirit Metaxa. This was first created in 1888 by Spyros Metaxas. I wonder if he ever believed his drink would be propelled into and consumed by astronauts floating around in the stratosphere! We’ll make sure to send the guy a memo ;).

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