Brandy is a spirit obtained by the distillation of wine. The name signifies in its origin “burnt” wine. All Brandies are, or should be, grape spirits, and undoubtedly the finest Brandies procurable are those of Cognac.
Cognac is the name of a small town on the River Charente, in the south of France, and the only Brandy entitled to the name of Cognac is that distilled from the wines grown within a limited district known as the ” Region Delimitce.” This region comprises the two Charentes, a small area of Deux-Sevres, and of Dordogne. The two Charentes are divided into five districts, namely Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, and Bois Eloignes.
Some good Brandy known as Armagnac is also made in the Departement of Gors.
A special kind of vine is grown in the “Region Delimitee,” producing a light white wine which lends itself for distillation into Brandy of far greater delicacy than that produced in regions where the wine is fuller-bodied.
All Brandies when fresh from the still arc clear, colourless liquids. After remaining for some years in special oak casks, however, they gradually develop a pale amber tint which is acquired from the wood.
Brown Brandies owe their colour to the addition of burnt sugar.
From the Book “Harry” of Ciro’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails by Harry MacElhone, London, 1921.