If there were one kind of underutilized style of liquor that we were to champion, it would be brandy. It is a common item to have on your bar cart, but it's not that common to drink it. Often, open bottles of the liquor are used only in splashes to deglaze a frying pan, but now it's time to break out the snifter.
Brandy shares a lot of its DNA with wine, as it is distilled from fermented grapes, but it has a dark depth in both appearance and flavor. Some people may find its intensity only suitable for special occasions; thank goodness the holiday season is here.
There are many flavors of brandy that can all serve different purposes in a mixed drink. Fruit infusions typically complement other juices. Brandy made with pomace (the solid parts of fruit left over after they are pressed for oil), on the other hand, is not aged and may appear clear in tint compared to its cousin. It should be left to the imbiber’s discretion which flavors to mix and match.
To get you started, we found some creative recipes for brandy cocktails. Whip any of these drinks up when you need a warm pick-me-up or if you are simply feeling adventurous.
This brandy ginger twist is meant to be a combination of a Japanese Cocktail (which, as Hola Jalapeño author Kate Ramos notes, has nothing to do with Japan and everything to do with 1920s glam) and a ginger sidecar. The resulting drink has a lasting tangy flavor.
Remember to be patient when marinating this delicious blueberry Brandy cider cocktail from Lakeshore Lady. The blueberries and cider come together for a delicate fruity flavor, and the brandy gives it a kick.
This bittersweet sparkler cocktail from Salt and Wind implies festivities of the New Year’s Eve variety, but its classy mix of champagne and brandy will elevate any occasion. This recipe also calls for a gentian liqueur called Suze, which was a popular French aperitif in the 19th century. Don’t forget the layer of pear at the bottom, which will be a soaked treat once you have finished imbibing.
When an eggnog recipe is this simple, there is no reason to cut corners by buying this seasonal treat at the store. And to top off your fresh eggnog, spike it with brandy for a perfect holiday beverage like in this recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
While the shaking and stirring are fun for the experience, a blended cocktail is the easiest trick in the book. This red wine blended berry sangria from The Modern Proper utilizes brandy for a necessary kick, so do not leave it out.
The Brandy milk punch from Boulder Locavore hails from New Orleans and has become one of a few classic cocktails that remind us of Mardi Gras. Dairy in the morning always makes sense, so it follows that this is a popular brunch drink too.
There is no shortage of flavors in this delectable concoction from Half Baked Harvest. Citrus and apple juice mingles with pumpkin butter and ginger beer, as well as the requisite brandy and vodka. Drink extra responsibly with this one.
Despite its name, this Zombie cocktail from Boulder Locavore tastes like a beach getaway rather than an episode of the Walking Dead. The type of brandy it calls for is flavored with apricot, a perfect balance to the orange, pineapple, and lime juices. It also features a generous amount of rum, sure to bring anyone back from the dead.
Hot toddies are a classic cocktail that will vary wherever you go. Scotland is believed to be where the drink originated, and this particular recipe from Boulder Locavore calls for whiskey, but those new to the toddy should note: whiskey, rum, and brandy are interchangeable.