Wine is one of the oldest types of alcohol in the world. And there are so many different varieties of wine that people from around the globe enjoy every single day! The restaurant wine lists are getting even longer and there are more unique wines to try every year.
The world is surely a happier place because of wine. But do you know what else this beverage gave us? It gave us brandy! Before there was fruit brandy and brandy cocktails, people created this liquor by distilling wine.
Even though brandy is connected to wine in that way, the right brandy storage and the way to store wine are not exactly the same. Aging is not the same, either. So whether you are a bar or a restaurant owner and you want to store well your bottles of brandy, keep reading!
Brandy Storage: How to Do It Right
The first, and most important thing to know, is that when a brandy bottle is open and the liquor is in contact with oxygen, it will begin to lose its qualities. This is how some types of liquor will even expire.
To learn more on the topic, read our article about alcohol expiration. But now, let’s get back to brandy storage and how you are suppose to do it in your establishment.
Key Takeaway: Keeping the bottles of brandy upright on a shelf, away from the sunlight, and in an environment where the temperature is not fluctuating a lot will help you keep the liquor in a great condition. Any opened bottles need to be used up before 6 months have passed and this is when making brandy cocktails is a smart thing to add to a beverage menu.
How to Store Brandy In Its Own Bottle
Brandy can be stored on a bar shelf without having to be cooled or layed on it’s side, for example. But there are still some important thing to keep in mind when storing it:
- Always make sure that brandy is stored away from direct sunlight, possibly in a darker place. Direct sunlight can affect its qualities and make it lose its color and flavor.
- Make sure that the brandy is not stored in an area where it could get too hot or the temperature is fluctuating a lot.
- Brandy storage can be a simple shelf where the bottles can be placed upright.
The previous steps need to be followed no matter of the bottle of brandy is opened or not. However, if the bottle is already opened, you should also:
- Make sure to seal the bottle so oxygen won’t get inside of it. Use its own cap or a wine stopper to keep it closed. Don’t use a cork because reused corks can degrade overtime and still let oxygen inside the bottle.
- Once the bottle is opened, make sure the brandy is consumed within 6 months. Technically, it won’t go bad but the quality of the alcohol will drastically deteriorate after this period of time.
If you have a bottle of brandy that’s been opened and time is passing, it’s a good idea to add some brandy cocktails to your menu. This way, you will be able to clear any remaining brandy bottles from your inventory.
Storing Brandy in a Decanter
Using a decanter for brandy storage is not typical for bars and restaurants. However, if you are running a different business in the hospitality industry and want to add a personal touch, this way of storing it may appeal to you. Here’s how to do it:
- Select a pretty decanter that will take brandy storage to the next level in terms of appeal. Because a decanter is designed to expose the drink to a small amounts of oxygen it won’t do much for the brandy, other than improving the presentation.
- If you decided to use a decanter, pour the brandy carefully into it and then close the top.
- Show off your pretty decanter, filled with quality brandy by putting it on the bar. Just remember to keep it away from sunlight.
How to Tell If Brandy Is Still Good to Drink
Figuring out the right brandy storage can be challenging as it is. But what if you left an opened bottler for a bit longer than anticipated? How can you tell if the brandy is still good to drink or not? Here’s how to figure it out:
- First, make sure to remove any bottles that have been opened about a year or more ago. There’s no need to risk it with those. The ingredients of the brandy start turning over time and the liquor will be ruined.
- If you know for a fact that the brandy bottles has been opened for less than 6 months, you can assume that it’s good to serve.
- In case the brandy has been sitting around for over 6 months, however, it’s time to do a smell test to assess the aromas of the liquor. Open up the bottle and sniff the liquor. If the smell is smooth, spirited, fruity, and sweet - it’s good to consume. But in case you smell anything else, the brandy may have started to deteriorate. You can also taste a small sip of it to see if the flavor is pleasant.
Keep in mind that brandy, unlike vodka, gin, or bourbon, doesn’t have an iconic smell. That’s why you should be careful when trying to figure out of it’s still good to use in your restaurant or bar.
How Brandy Aging Is Done
Brandy is an alcoholic beverage that is is placed into oak barrels to mature. The brandies you see with a natural brown or golden color are aged in oak. However, some brandies, which typically come from Spain, are aged with a solera system. In this process, the producers change the barrels each year.
Brandy needs to be aged for a minimum of two years. There are many brandies that are aged for a lot longer, too. Aging the brandy adds complexity to the flavors, so producers are not only relying on the barrels, but on time, too.
Frequently Asked Questions about Brandy Storage and Aging
To learn more about brandy storage and aging, read the answers to these popular questions.
Does Brandy Need to Be Stored Differently From Other Spirits?
Brandy and other types of alcohol are stored in a similar way. It should be in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and temperature fluctuations. It's important to keep the bottle tightly sealed to prevent evaporation.
How Long Can I Store an Unopened Bottle of Brandy?
An unopened bottle of brandy can be stored indefinitely if it’s stored the right way. Unlike wine, brandy won’t continue to age in the bottle. This means it won’t improve or deteriorate significantly over time. So don’t expect the brandy to age and become better over time but to stay the way it’s meant to be.
Does the Shape of the Bottle Matter for Brandy Storage?
The shape of the bottle is more about tradition and aesthetics than storage. However, dark-colored bottles are preferred for brandy to protect the spirit from light exposure. They also add to the luxurious feel of the drink.