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Brandy Drinks: Types of Brandy, Cocktails, & Beverage Menus

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Every restaurant and bar needs a good selection of brandy drinks. From popular cocktails to neat brandy, you can create a great customer experience by sticking to quality and offering delicious food pairings, too. 

Before you start ordering bottles of brandy and mixing up brandy drinks, let’s dive into the history of it. We will also go through some types of brandy, share good recipes, and talk about incorporating it into your beverage menu. 

The Interesting History of Brandy

Brandy originated in France. It was first distilled in the Middle Ages, around 1313. The brandy drinks or spirit was created for medicinal purposes. “Brandy” is a shortened version of the word “brandywine.” This is a Dutch word and it means “burnt wine.” 

In the United States, commercial distilling has been done since 1797. The abundance of fruits back then made it easy to produce larger quantities. The most used fruit was apples. 

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How to Serve Brandy

Brandy is an alcoholic drink served at room temperature. The traditional glassware used to serve brandy drinks is a snifter or a tulip glass. Wine glasses can be used, too. Brandy can be warmed up by holding the glass in the palm of your hands for a little while. 

Another way to do that is by warming the glass before serving the drink. Excessive warming of the drink can make the alcohol too strong and this can cause the aroma to become too overpowering. So keep that in mind. 

Brandy can be used to make cocktail drinks, too. Some of the most popular brandy drinks are Brandy Old Fashioned, Brandy Sour, Brandy Alexander, Sidecar, and Brandy Daisy. 

Serving Brandy at a Bar or Restaurant

There are many people who love a good glass of brandy. Some drink it plain, while others love a nice brandy cocktail. Either way, if you have a restaurant, make sure to offer great drink and food pairings. This will boost the customers’ experience! 

If you want to upgrade your fixed or seasonal menu, double check your beverage inventory tracking software stats first. This will help you identify brandy drinks and specific offers that may need to be phased out. When you know what doesn’t work, you can start experimenting by adding new offers to the menu.

The Brandy Making Process

Brandy production is an interesting topic. If you are running a restaurant and you want to provide exquisite service to your customers, it’s good to know valuable information and share it. 

Knowing how brandy is made, where it comes from, and how its aged will help you interact more with your customers. Talking about brandy can also help you increase sales.  

The Classic Method for Brandy Making

Brandy is a distilled spirit, often consumed after a meal. The classic brandy drinks are made from grapes, but they can be made from other fruits, too. Different regions in the world have their own versions of brandy. In each location, they use fruits that are common for the area. 

Brandy produced in three steps. These include fermentation, distillation, and aging. The first step, which is fermentation, creates the base wine. This base is then distilled to make alcohol with a higher ABV. When the distillation is completed, the liquor is transferred to wooden barrles for several years to age. When the distiller decides the brandy had aged enough, they transfer it into bottles. 

Details About Brandy Production

The production process of brandy may vary depending on the region. However, the main steps are always the same. 


To begin the brandy-making process, the fruit, (typically grapes) is mashed and mixed with yeast. The yeast creates a chemical reaction. The sugar from the fruit converts into ethanol. When the fermentation is completed, the result is a base wine. It has lower ABV than the brandy to come.


During the distillation process, the alcohol content increases. Distillation is done by applying heat to the base wine. It’s done in a copper pot still or a column still. 

When the liquid is heated, it creates a vapor. This vapor contains a high level of ethanol, less water, and impurities. Then theThe vapor is then cooled and converted back into liquid. The ABV at this point is between 35% and 60%. 


The brandy is transferred into oak barrels so the aging can begin. The alcohol is left to age for several years. The oak give brandy a specific flavor, as well as the distinct darker color. 

Making Brandy From Different Fruits

There are various kinds brandy - from Applejack and Calvados to Cognac, Armagnac, and more. 

All brandy drinks go through the same processes of fermentation, distillation, and aging. Because of the different fruits used to make them, the flavor profiles and aromas end up being unique. Aging can take different times as well. Brandy from some of the fruits is clear, even once the aging is completed. 

The fruits that can be used to make brandy are:

  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Quince

Exploring the World of Fruit Brandy

There are many brandies created in all corners of the world. However, there are 10 that have gained a lot of popularity because of their flavor and quality. Let’s see which they are!

1. Lambig

A fruit brandy aged in oak barrels and distilled from apple cider. It’s aged for several years and has a beautiful amber color. It possess the pleasant aroma of apple and warm spices, as well as nuts and distinct spicy and woody notes. 

2. Applejack

Applejack is one of the oldest American spirits. It’s an apple brandy that originated during colonial times. Some sources say that it was first made as a cider that was fermented and then frozen. After it was frozen, the liquid that did not freeze was what they used to drink. 

3. Williamine

A type of brandy distilled from William pears. It was first produced in Switzerland. There’s a bottle of this brandy with a higher price because it comes with a whole pear inside. 

This brandy has an ABV of 43%. It’s a great aperitif and digestif spirit. It can be used in a lot of cocktail drinks as well. 

4. Abricotine

A clear brandy with a dominant apricot flavor and nuances of almond. It’s distilled from fermented Luizet apricots, suitable to go through the distillation process. The result is cut with water to get a 40% ABV. This fruit brandy is a great digestif. 

5. Slavonska šljivovica

Made from ripe plums, the drink can range from light yellow to amber. This depends on whether it was aged in oak. The alcohol content is between 37.5% and 42.5%. 

6. Poire Williams

Distilled from fermented Williams pears, this is a clear and colorless spirit that comes from Switzerland, France, and Germany. You can find bottles with a whole pear inside. The aromas of this brandy are predominantly of pear. 

7. Medronho

A Portuguese fruit brandy distilled from fermented medronho berries. The production of this brandy is not well-regulated and some producers that have a license for the production. 

It’s a clear, strong drink, which is a great digestif.

8. Kirschwasser

A clear and colorless brandy, made of double-distilled fermented cherry mash. It was first made of sour morello cherries. Now, producers use different cherry varieties. And since the cherry pits are crushed and used as well, this fruit brandy is characterized by a mild bitter-sweet finish. 

9. Šljivovica

This brandy that’s famous in the Balkans, is made of plums. This type of brandy can be distilled one or multiple times, depending on personal preferences. When its aged in oak, the color and flavor, as well as aromas significantly improve. 

10. Calvados

Another brandy distilled from apple cider or a mixture of apples and pear. It’s often double-distilled to make the brandy base. It’s then aged and blended. There are strict regulations for producing Calvados and the end product is classified according to the length of the maturation process. The minimum aging time is two years. 

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Brandy Cocktails You Need on Your Menu

Brandy drinks in any form deserve to be on your menu! There are great brandy types to serve, as well as delicious cocktails. Here’s our list of 8 popular brandy cocktails to try!

1. Brandy Alexander

2. Sidecar

3. Vieux Carré

4. Brandy Sour

5. Corpse Reviver #1

6. Between the Sheets

7. Brandy Crusta

8. Brandy Daisy

What’s Great about Brandy Cocktails?

Brandy drinks can be enjoyed thorough the year and they can be served in any bar or restaurant. Hotels, as well as country clubs, and cruise ships are no exception. In case you are not offering any brandy drinks now, try to implement them into your seasonal menu

Using a beverage inventory tracking software like BinWise, you will be analyze clear data and see if people like them or not. If the brandy drinks are not a hit, you can slowly phase them out or keep only the once that sell well.  

Food and Brandy Pairings for Your Restaurant

Brandies come from all over the world and are made of different fruit. They all pair well with various foods, usually dishes that are traditional for the region of production.

Apple Brandy Pairings

Apple brandy is very popular, especially in the United States. It goes well with the following meals: 

  • Pork Dishes 
  • Cheeses 
  • Chicken and Duck Dishes
  • Apple-Based Desserts 
  • Charcuterie 
  • Nuts 
  • Seafood Dishes 
  • Baked Brie

Cherry Brandy Pairings

The cherry notes in this drink makes it a perfect match for foods that don’t go with apple brandy. They are: 

  • Chocolate Desserts 
  • Grilled Fruits
  • Dark Berries
  • Vanilla Desserts 
  • Foie Gras 
  • Spiced Dishes 

Pear Brandy Pairings

Pear brandy is another popular kind. You can pair it with: 

  • Fresh Pears 
  • Cheese, Prosciutto, and Almonds 
  • Seafood Dishes
  • Cured Meats
  • Ginger Dishes
  • Spiced Desserts

Apricot and Plum Brandy Pairings

We already covered many different dishes that pair well with brandy. Most of them are a good match for plum and apricot brandy, too. Here are some other dishes that go with them: 

  • Almonds and Almond-Based Desserts
  • Tarts and Pastries
  • Fig and Honey Combinations

Health Benefits of Brandy

Just like wine, brandy has some health benefits to offer. If you have it in moderation, you can reap some of them. Here’s a list of all the health benefits you can notice:

  • Helps with respiratory infections
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Promotes heart health
  • Possibly prevent some types of cancer
  • Offers anti-aging effects
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Has cardiovascular benefits
  • Promotes good sleep

How to Store Brandy

In order to serve high-quality drinks at your bar or restaurant at all times, you need to know how to store all of the bottles. Let’s look into the proper ways of storing brandy so it doesn't go bad.  

How to Store Brandy

  • Brandy bottles must be stored away from direct sunlight, possibly in a darker place. Direct light can affect the qualities of the brandy and make it lose its color and flavor. 
  • Avoid storing brandy in areas where the temperature is often high or fluctuates a lot.  
  • Always place the brandy bottles upright. 

If the bottle of brandy is already opened, you should: 

  • Seal the bottle so oxygen won’t get inside. Use its own cap or a wine stopper. Avoid using cork for this purpose.  
  • Consume the brandy from opened bottles within 6 months. It technically won’t expire but may lose some of its qualities.  

In case you have some bottles that are opened but the brandy is not selling well on its own, try including it in some cocktails. This way you can clear your inventory without any losses. 

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How to Incorporate Brandy into Your Beverage Menu

Brandy needs to be on the beverage menu of each bar and restaurant. Because of its popularity, you can avoid adding it. If you don’t know how exactly to do it, however, follow these tips: 

1. Offer Different Styles of Brandy

Stock a variety of brandies. From Cognac to Armagnac and classic American brandies, such as Applejack - offering diversity will make your menu better.  

2. Highlight Classic Brandy Cocktails

If you don’t know how to introduce new alcohol to your menu, try doing it via great cocktails. People love fancy drinks, so you should prioritize cocktails, pretty cocktail garnish, and stylish glassware

3. Have Seasonal Brandy Specials

Following seasonality keeps the menu exciting and fresh, especially for return customers. Even if you don’t stock new kinds of brandy, you can offer new brandy drinks that you can make. These drinks can also fit into the concept of your restaurant and be unique to your business.  

4. Food and Brandy Pairings 

Drink and food pairings are always a great way to get new customers. Train your waiters to offer brandy with some special dishes from your menu. Different brandies can complement the flavors of several delicious meals. Offering great pairings will only increase customer satisfaction.

5. Brandy Dessert Cocktails 

You can make Brandy Alexander Milkshake or a Chocolate Brandy Sour, which can satisfies people’s sweet tooth. These can even be a part of your dessert menu.

6.  Brandy and Coffee Drinks

Drinks like Irish Coffee and Spanish Coffee are both excellent drinks for after dinner. Coffee and brandy lovers will surely appreciate the variety and the chance to combine their favorite drinks.

7. Brandy Selection

Invest in a well-curated brandy selection. Have options for different budgets. Customers will appreciate if they can find something within their budget and if you like what they had, they will be more likely to offer another bottle. Even from the more expensive ones. 

8. Beverage Menu Presentation

Don’t forget to make the menu appealing! Take gorgeous pictures of the cocktails and invest time and effort into the design of the menu. If the menu is beautiful and showcases all the drinks in a good way, people are more likely to order. 

For more great tips on what to serve at your restaurant and how to do it, browse the other articles on our website. But if what you need help with is managing your beverage inventory, don’t waste any more time and book a demo with BinWise now! We will make handling large quantities so much easier, faster, and efficient!

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