Sit and Sip: Discover Brandy

By Suzanne Ledbetter

When the fog rolls in and the evenings are downright chilly, most of us turn on our fireplace to warm us up. But I’ve got an even better suggestion for the booze-loving crowd: brandy. Of course we love our Lodi Wine, but did you know brandy is also made using wine grapes? Yes, that’s right, grapes! Generally speaking, brandy is a term used for any distilled spirit made from fermented fruit (think apple or pear), but the majority is made from grapes. The end result is a spirit that is 35-60 percent alcohol by volume.

Brandy is timeless. It’s a sipper that has survived decades of changing beverage trends and retains its popularity amongst other prominent spirits. A classic after dinner digestif, brandy is best served neat—meaning no ice—at room temperature in a sniffer glass. And because brandy is so aromatic, you want to use the sniffer glass to capture the full spectrum of aromas. The flavors range from ripe jam and raisin to caramel and spice. Which is why they’re great to savor after a decadent dinner!

Much like wines, brandy changes with age. Younger brandies tend to feel hot on the palate and high in alcohol, while older brandies mellow over time. A more mature brandy offers complexity, often showcasing floral undertones with hints of vanilla and spice. Doesn’t that sound delicious? The next time you reach for a glass of wine, consider sampling a sipper of brandy—the perfect pairing to your Saturday night in. Rent a movie, light the fireplace and put your feet up—you just might enjoy the change of pace!

Side Car Recipe


2 Oz. Cognac or brandy

1 Oz. Cointreau Orange Liquor

¾ Oz. Lemon Juice

Lemon Twist


Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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