Brandy is typically a distilled grape alcohol, made by fermenting grapes (wine). It can be made from other fruits, such as cherries and apples.
The name comes from Dutch brandewijn (burnt wine).
It was one of the first bases for cure-all tonics and colognes, thought to have originally been made by monks who perfected the art of distillation. The famous Queen of Hungary Water was made to a brandy base.
Commercial manufacturing of brandy started around the 16th century. Although brandy is made worldwide, only the Cognac region in France can call theirs by the same name. Brandy is typically aged in wooden barrels and its colour ranges from pale to caramel brown, depending on the production method.
As a cooking ingredient, brandy is an essential part of many cakes and puddings, and it’s a popular after dinner drink.