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A Brief Overview Of Brandy

Brandy is a spirit type of alcoholic beverage and is essentially made by distilling wine.  The etymology of brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewjin which means ‘burned wine.’  The reason for this is meaning is that the wine goes through a distillation process in order to make the alcoholic spirit that we now know as brandy.  Brandies are quite popular all over the world.  Most brandies released in the market have 80 proof rating.

There are three brandy versions – grape brandy, pomace brandy, and fruit brandy.  The grape type of brandy is made through the distillation of wine.  The pomace type of brandy makes use of leftover seeds, pulps, skin, and stems from the making of wine.  The fruit type of brandy is made through the adding of fruits to form different flavors.

When making the alcoholic spirit brandy, the distillation part is very important.  The use of slow distillation process enables the brandymaker to squeeze out the aromatic flavors and other essential elements from the raw ingredients being distilled.  Although the process of making brandy is different with each distilling company, the slower process of distilling is often followed so that they are able to get most of the aroma and flavor from their raw materials.

Fermentation, distillation, aging, and blending are the different processes involved in the making of brandy.

  1. Fermentation – this is the fermenting of the raw ingredients, the process in which sugar is converted by yeast into alcohol.
  2. Distillation – the process in which the juice from the fermentation process gets distilled to release the spirit of the fermented juice.
  3. Aging – once distilled, the distillate gets stored in oak barrels for a span of time, depending on the type or quality of brandy the distiller chooses it to be. The temperature and aging time determines the overall outcome of the brandy.
  4. Blending – this is the production process wherein the final product is blended to taste before being bottled and released to the thirsty public.

There are many types of brandy currently available in the market.  Brandy is available in both affordable and crazily expensive prices, with the most expensive belonging to the cognac type of brandy.  Cognac is a particular type of brandy that belongs to the more costly ones.  There are different distillers to this list and the quality of their products is rated based on how long they have been aged.

A Brief Overview Of Tequila

Tequila is a spirit type of alcoholic beverage and is essentially made using the plant called blue agave or Agave tequilana that is found in Mexico.  Ethnic Mexicans have used the agave plant many centuries even before the Spanish have arrived.  They use it not just for food and fabrics, but also in the making of the alcoholic spirit we have all come to know as tequila.  The tequila alcoholic spirit is made primarily using the blue gave only.

When making tequila, distillers harvest blue agaves that are around 6-10 years old.  When the agaves are harvested, their tough rinds are removed to expose the inner part.  These are then chopped down into smaller pieces and are then subjected to steam cooking.  Once steamed, they produce a sweet nectar which is then extracted from the fibers.  This agave nectar gets fermented to produce alcohol.   Once the fermented juice gets to about 5 percent alcohol, the liquid goes into distillation process wherein the liquid gets distilled twice or more to form the alcoholic spirit known as tequila.

There are four classifications of tequila – blanco, joven, reposado, and anejo.

Blanco (Silver) – this type of tequila is possibly the most common type.  It comes is clear liquid.  The aging of blanco tequila is around 60 days.  Poorly-made blancos can give instant brain seizures.  Well-made ones give off a peppery finish with the aroma and flavor of agave still present.

Joven (Gold) – this is the type of tequila often released to foreign markets.  Joven is basically a blanco but with additives.  Joven has a golden-like coloring which is achieved through the adding of caramel additives.  The caramel additive helps reduce the harshness of the tequila that you usually find in blancos.  The resulting effect of the additive however leads to getting hangovers.

Reposado (Rested) – these are tequilas that are aged for more than 60 days.  Finer quality are agend in oak barrels for up to 11 months.  Well-made reposados will have a lot of agave flavor but with a much smoother finish.  The color of reposado tequilas will have come from their aging in oak barrels.  Darker reposados are aged longer than lighter reposados.

Anejo (Aged) – these are tequilas that are aged for 2 to 6 years in wooden barrels.  Despite being aged, they still possess the hot finish tequilas are known for, albeit a much smoother finish.  Anejo tequilas are like the cognac of brandies.