People can get a little snobby about their liquor of choice. We get it, we love nerding out about spirits. But we also recognize that sometimes perceptions about price or a name hold people back from discovering some delicious drinks. For instance, the best bottle of brandy is just as good as the best bottle of cognac. The two styles of booze are born from the same foundation. Cognac just has to be from a specific region of France with specific requirements, brandy is a little looser and comes from every corner of the world. Both can be pretty spectacular when handled well.
The balance of fruit-forward (grape) distillate with long aging processes equates to booze that’s easy-to-drink while still complex enough to talk about. The barrel-aged, white wine elixir is worth taking a deep dive into. There’s a lot of nuance in the differences between cognacs from France and other brandies from France, but really, less when looking at brandies from Germany, Spain, America, Russia, and beyond.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five great brandies to have on hand at your next party. This is a journey through the world of brandy, cognac, and Armagnac where the regionals styles are paramount. Let’s start that journey!