Brandy Cocktails and Brandy Based Cocktails
Brandy is a spirit distilled from grape wine and has been made for centuries in every wine-growing region of the world. It is still widely made today in such countries as Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and the United States, but undoubtedly the best brandy comes from France. Of these, Cognac from the Charente and Armagnac from Gascony are the finest. Strict laws govern their production and ageing and the great châteaux which produce them have generations of experience. These are really liqueur brandies and are best reserved for leisurely consumption after dinner.
Nevertheless, brandy cocktails are delightful and can be made very satisfactorily from less distinguished brandies.
Brandy is yet another spirit thought to have medicinal properties and a small bottle can often be found in the medicine chest of ‘dry’ houses.
Fruit brandies are made by one of two methods: Spirit may be distilled from fermented fruit juice, or fruit may be macerated in spirit. They are excellent both as a base for cocktails and as flavour enhancers. Common fruit brandies include apricot and cherry.
Liqueurs, also excellent flavour enhancers in cocktails, are infusions or distillations of herbs, spices or fruit with alcohol. They are often extremely pretty colours — an added bonus in the cocktail bar. Common liqueurs include Southern Comfort (orange and peach), Cointreau (orange), Curacao (orange, but both gold and blue in colour), Mandarine Napoleon (tangerine), Crème de Menthe (mint), Crème de Banane (banana), Benedictine (various herbs), Chartreuse (various herbs, both green and yellow in colour), and Kümmel (caraway seeds).