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The most sensible thing to do to people you hate is to drink their brandy.
Elizabeth Taylor

Brandy generally refers to a distilled spirit made from fermented fruit juice – usually grapes but many types of fruits including apples, peaches, plums, pears or cherries can be used. If the fruit is anything other than grape, it must be marked on the label.

Brandy is usually aged in oak casks, mellowing the flavour and giving the spirit additional flavour and aroma. If the brand is aged for less than two years it is called "immature" and an age statement is required on the label.

As early as the 15th century wines (mainly from France and Spain) were being exported in bulk to England and Holland. Producers came up with the idea of distilling the wine before transporting it (making it more stable to transport and less prone to oxidation, and also meaning lower taxes were charged on it as the liquid's volume was reduced during distillation) then adding water before serving or selling it.

Due to the fire required for the distillation process, the Dutch began referring to the product as wijnbranders - 'wine burnt'. This name evolved into brandywijn and then to brandy.

Many countries have their own version of brandy that comes from a specific geographic location such as Cognac that comes from the Cognac region of France or Armagnac that comes from the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France.

Young brandies are often used in cocktails while aged brandies have a more intense flavour depth and length and are perfect to enjoy neat.

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