Brandy comes from the Dutch word *brandewijn*, meaning "burned wine." Brandy is a type of liquor made from fermented fruit juice, typically fermented grape juice. Brandy can also be made from apricots, apples, and cherries. Grape brandy can be unmarked, but brandy that is not made from grapes, such as apple brandy, must be marked on the label. \n\nThis distilled spirit is usually 40 to 50 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), with 80 to 100 proof—though the alcohol content can vary depending on the type of brandy. Brandy is commonly consumed at room temperature or over ice as an after-dinner drink, and it can also be mixed into cocktails.\nBrandy has a fruity and subtly sweet taste. It can also have flavor notes of oak since it is typically aged in wooden casks. The taste of brandy becomes more mellow and complex as it ages—brandy that is less than two years old is considered unaged, while brandies that are more than two years old are considered mature.\n\nModern production methods vary depending on region, but brandy is essentially created by fermenting fruit into wine. The wine is then distilled using low heat, which concentrates the flavor and alcohol. The distillation process can happen multiple times depending on the type of brandy being made. After distillation, the brandy is aged in oak barrels; then, the brandy is mixed with water and other brandies to create different flavors and alcoholic volume.\nThere are many types of brandy that differ in terms of fruits, fermentation process, distilling techniques, and distillery location. Common types of brandy include:\n\n1. __Cognac__: This brandy is made from grapes in the Cognac region of Southwest France. Cognac and Armagnac, another French brandy, are strictly graded in France to determine their age. The youngest brandy is aged for at least two years, after which it is labeled with the following designation: V.S. (Very Special). French brandy that is at least four years old is labeled with V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale). French brandy that is at least six years old is labeled with X.O. (Extra Old) or Napoléon. \n2. __Armagnac__: Armagnac is made from grapes in the Armagnac region of Southwest France. Unlike other cognacs, Armagnac is only distilled once. Armagnac that is at least 10 years old are labeled *hors d'âge* (beyond age).\n3. __Applejack__: This American fruit brandy is made from apples and was created in New Jersey in 1968.\n4. __Pisco__: This brandy is made from grapes in Peru and Chile. It’s named after the Peruvian port of the same name.\n5. __Grappa__: Grappa is a brandy made in Italy, the Italian region of Switzerland, or San Marino. It is made from pomace—the skin, pulp, seeds, and stems leftover from winemaking. Pomace brandy can be created anywhere in the world, but only pomace brandy produced in Italy can be called grappa. \n6. __Brandy de Jerez__: This Spanish brandy is made in Spain’s Sherry Triangle region from grapes and other kinds of fruit.\n7. __Kirschwasser__: Also known as kirsch, this brandy is made from cherries.\n8. __Calvados__: This apple brandy needs to be made in the Normandy region in northern France to be considered Calvados.\nCognac is a type of brandy, but its location and production method set it apart from other brandies:\n\n1. __Cognac can only be produced in the Cognac region of France__. According to the European Union, the term “cognac” is a legal designation. Even if a brandy has the exact same type of distilling method as a cognac, it must be produced in the Cognac region of France to be called cognac because of the specific terroir (growing conditions) in that region. Brandy, however, can be created anywhere in the world.\n2. __Cognac is created using six grape varieties grown in the Cognac region__. Cognac is distilled twice and aged in French oak. Cognac and Armagnac have a stringent rating system in France. In contrast, worldwide, the rating system of brandy is unregulated—though some non-French brandies sometimes use the French rating system. Popular brands of cognac include VSOP, Hennessy, Courvoisier, Hors d'Age, and Rémy Martin. \nBrandy is a key ingredient in many classic cocktails. Some common mixed drinks made using brandy include: \n\n1. __Brandy Cocktail__: This cocktail mixes brandy and curaçao with two dashes of bitters.\n2. __Sidecar__: The [Sidecar](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/classic-sidecar-cocktail-recipe) cocktail is made with cognac, lemon juice, and Cointreau/triple sec.\n3. __Brandy Alexander__: The [Brandy Alexander cocktail](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/brandy-alexander-cocktail-recipe) is made with cognac, crème de cacao, and heavy cream.\n4. __Metropolitan__: This cocktail is served in a martini glass and mixes brandy with sweet vermouth and simple syrup.\n5. __Vieux Carre__: [The Vieux Carre cocktail](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/vieux-carre-cocktail-recipe) mixes brandy with rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and dashes of bitters.\nLearn more about mixology from award-winning bartenders. Refine your palate, explore the world of spirits, and shake up the perfect cocktail for your next gathering with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/). \nBrandy is a fruity, sweet liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a cocktail.