Brandy, which comes from the Dutch word brandewijn meaning “burned wine,” is exactly that—in a way. It’s distilled wine, which means the wine is heated to the point of vaporization. Brandy can also refer to a distilled spirit made from fruits like apples, cherries and peaches, but more often than not, it’s distilled from wine made from grapes. And like wine, a heck of a lot of the best stuff comes from France. Whether you like it as an after-dinner digestif, enjoy it in a cocktail like the Sidecar or simply think you look dapper while holding a snifter, brandy is a spirit worthy of any liquor cabinet.
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The History of Brandy
Brandy, like many of the best things in life, was invented by accident. In the early 16th century, enterprising Dutch merchants distilled wine to preserve it during transport and to export higher volumes, intending to add water after reaching their destination. But upon arrival, people found that the distilled spirit (which was transported in wooden casks) tasted just great—no water needed.