Best Brandy To Buy As A Gift
Brandy is a hugely diverse umbrella term in the world of spirits, but a deliciously flavoursome one at that. To get technical, largely speaking, to be classified as a brandy, the base ingredient of the spirit needs to be grape-based (with the exception of Eaux de Vie and fruit brandies such calvados, which uses apples or pears).
best brandy to buy as a gift
For more drinks inspiration, check out our reviews section for over 400+ expert reviews, including round-ups of the best pink, sloe, citrus and rhubarb gins, plus gift guides like the best letterbox gifts to order online. Looking for a personalised gift idea? Put together a personalised My BBC Good Food cookbook filled with your favourite recipes, or treat a loved one to one of our online cookery courses.
Brandy is a broad term. The most ubiquitous brandies we drink are distilled from wine. However, this definition would exclude a number of brandy variations, such as grappa. To put it simply: brandy is a spirit made by distilling fruit, as opposed to whisky, which is made from grains and cereals.
There are few brandies on the market that can boast a reputation comparable to St-Rémy XO. The world first sipped this back in 1990, and the bottle has gone on to win countless awards in the decades since. Presented in a striking black bottle, this is arguably the best-value brandy on the market, often coming in under 25. Oak and vanilla are lathered with honey on the nose, with each aroma carried through to the palate and met with brown sugar and ginger, chewy figs and cracks of pepper.
Considering brandy is historically intertwined with winemaking, it makes sense that location is of vital importance when deciding which tipple to opt for here. Frapin is produced in the Grande Champagne region, a sector of the Cognac region that many would argue is its finest.
Hine is somewhat reinventing the direction of cognac, away from the traditional view of a brandy balloon glass, cigar pairing and dusty leather armchair. As fine as these things might be under the right circumstances, a lighter, more refreshing side to cognac is on the rise and H By Hine has been designed with the cognac cocktail in mind, especially long drinks, where it excels. Try it over ice, combined with ginger ale and a slice of orange zest and be prepared to be converted.
This is a luxury brandy (made in the French style with those barrels) that costs about half as much as cognacs twice the price. This is also one of the most awarded brandies on the shelf, making this the perfect stocking stuffer this time of year.
The Christmas cake vibe of this brandy makes it a great sipper right now. Plus, this is a nice step up from the average Remy you see on shelves, which makes it the one you should probably wrap up and put under the tree.
This brandy from Armagnac has a lovely level of nuance that makes it worth seeking out. Delord is a single house operation where grapes are grown organically and sustainably by the family. The grapes are pressed and twice distilled before going into the barrel for long resting periods of up to 25 years before blending, proofing, and bottling.
Roasted nuts, orange-infused dark chocolate, espresso beans, and brown bread greet you. The sip embraces the oak, nuts, and coffee as the body of the brandy feels like sharp beams of golden light flooding through darkly colored stained glass. The fruit is fairly dried and plummy and the sweetness edges ever-so-slightly towards molasses. The end is dry, bold, and leaves you warmed to your soul.
Because while it was previously a spirit known best for its traditional roots, brandy is making a comeback, with millennials searching far and wide for the best brandy brands to sip after dinner or mix into a range of fruity cocktails.
Then, it was upgraded to Grande Champagne, meaning that all the eaux-de-vie used in the assemblage nowadays come from the best region of cognac. This puts it, deservedly, in one of the top spots for cognac in the world, thanks to its multitude of interesting elements.
When sipping, expect notes of incense, grapefruit, freshly sawn wood, and raisins, with an oaky finish. It comes with some strong floral notes too, and is known for being one of those bottles that every brandy lover should try once in their lifetime. Louis XIII Cognac is truly stunning and especially complex.
This brandy has a dark amber color and a strong and welcoming aroma of candied apricot, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. It has a clean and engaging palette, featuring hints of raisins and dark chocolate, and blends perfectly into a Sidecar cocktail. Shake it well with triple sec and lemon juice for a deliciously refreshing drink.
Anyone looking for an especially smooth brandy should choose Martell XO above all. Renowned for its optimum and velvety smoothness, Martell blends nuts and fruit into its XO offering in a uniquely-shaped bottle.
Similar to the production of wine, brandy and cognac are produced in four main stages: harvesting, fermenting, distilling and aging. The process is similar to that of white wine, and in order to produce most brandies or cognacs, a white wine mixture is distilled and then aged in a particular way.
To start, the fruit is picked when it hits optimum ripeness. Grenache, Pinot Grigio, and French Colombard are some of the most common varieties of grapes used to make brandy. Next, the grapes or other fruit are fermented using a combination of yeast and the naturally occurring microflora already present. Once fermented, the mixture is distilled in order to bring out the complex flavors and natural aromas that make up a successful brandy.
Finally comes the aging process. Brandy is typically aged in oak barrels to ensure flavor and quality. Some brandies, especially Spanish varieties, are aged using the Solera system, where the barrels are changed each year. After a period of aging, which varies depending on the country producing the liquid and the type of brandy, the spirit is bottled and prepared for retail.
This aging and storage process can often be a sign of an impressive brandy or cognac. Most brandies are blended products of various ages. The age of the youngest brandy in the blend designates the age statement on the bottle, but can also be noted with various abbreviations:
To drink brandy the classic way, leave the bottle on the counter for around an hour before drinking and then pour it into a tulip glass; the best glass used to savor the spirit. Its bowl and rim shape is specially designed to allow the spirit to hit the correct part of your tongue while delivering the aromas straight to your nose.
Hold the bowl of the glass in your hand to gently warm the liquid, before sniffing from above the rim of the glass. Then, take small sips of brandy, allowing it to roll around your mouth before swallowing. High-quality brandies and cognacs can be sipped neat and are best enjoyed that way, while a value brandy is the perfect accompaniment to classic cocktails like the Sidecar.
Cognac was a traditional staple cocktail ingredient and the craft cocktail industry is seeing a recent resurgence for the spirit. That means a good bottle of brandy or Cognac is an important purchase for your bar cart.
Other popular brandy-based cocktails include the Manhattan; created by mixing brandy with sweet vermouth and simple syrup, and the Champagne Cocktail, produced by mixing brandy with Champagne for an elegant twist. Modernize the brandy after supper tradition with a round of Brandy Alexanders; brandy, crème de cacao, and cream, which pull together to form a delicious and satisfying dessert cocktail.
Germain Robin is the first brandy distilled from non-traditional varietals like Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier, and Sémillon, and these provide the brand with a distinctive character. It blends artisanal methods and excellent workmanship to push its brandy to new heights.
Brandy snifter: The traditional glass used for drinking brandy. This is the best way to enjoy brandy for all of its delicate flavors, thanks to the shape of the glass. The large surface area releases the aromas of the spirit while the short foot encourages you to hold it by the bowl, warming the brandy slightly.
Grande Champagne: A French district, otherwise known as a cru, known for its Cognac. The Grande Champagne region is regarded as the best and most respected region, followed by the Petite Champagne.
We looked into the region where each brandy or cognac was produced and then, especially for cognacs, looked at the quality of grape used and which cru its grapes originated from. We took into account the authority and popularity of each brand, its range of offerings, and its distillation method.
The gift that keeps on giving for adventurous home mixologists, this monthly subscription box comes with everything you need to craft unique and impressive cocktails, just add alcohol. With three recipes, perfectly portioned syrups, shrubs, and juices, plus garnishes, fresh fruits, and herbs, this is an ideal gift for tipplers with the urge to explore.
For the giftee who likes to drink like a bartender, this bottle of bracing, herbaceous liqueur will earn you serious cred. Made with a secret, signature recipe of 27 ingredients, its bold flavor makes it a must for any well-stocked bar cart, whether it's consumed straight, espresso shot-style, or used to add nuance to cocktails.
What's better than gift somebody one bottle? Gifting them a subscription to tastes some of the finest spirits around, tailored perfectly to their tastes. That's exactly what Flaviar does, by sending boxes filled with tastings, bottles, and tones of info so they can explore the wide world of booze.
Each bottle is produced with only top-quality European grapes cultivated from regions known for their premium winemaking traditions. Aged for 21 years in Limousin oak cognac barrels, this brandy offers an opulent finish that lingers on the palate and delights the senses.
Planning your holiday festivities? Look no further than Fundador Supremo 18 Brandy for your drink of choice this 2023. Lauded by connoisseurs, cultural critics, and beverage enthusiasts alike, Fundador is a robust and versatile brandy that provides an unforgettable experience. 041b061a72