Do I have some spirit people in the house? I can hear some giggling of excitement; except you are an adept non-alcoholic, you can’t have skipped sipping on some brandy to get the hang of it.
Believe it or not, brandy has some health benefits which it gives, and there are many dishes that can be made using brandy and, no I am not referring to cognac alone!
Besides, any drink that can be referred to as “eau de vie,” meaning “water of life,” should have some life watering benefits, so, the French have said it all.
Right now, we are rediscovering brandy, and you definitely are coming along with us.
Table of Contents
What Is Brandy?
The name brandy is gotten from a Dutch word which means “wine that is burnt,” the original Dutch word is pronounced as “brandewijn.”
It will surprise you to know that not all brandies are made from wine, in many countries, brandy is made to suit their preferences, and from whichever sugar-containing liquid they choose to ferment, how does this happen?
The thing about getting brandy lies on the distillation process which is heat removal; the liquid is heated below the boiling point of water; this gives way for the chemicals and alcohol to remain thereby forming the brandy with all its taste and flavour.
As a result of this, countries all over the world have devised making their own sort of brandy for example the popular schochu peculiar to the Japanese people is gotten from fermented rice but all in all, it is an accepted fact that the French have the best brandy.
Unlike your regular beers and wine, brandy is usually taken at intervals and not in high dosages at a time because of its very high alcoholic contents and detrimental effects on the body when overtaken.
History Of Brandy
Although it is believed by some that brandy was first distilled in France around the early 1300’s, there is still the assumption that generating alcohol from fermented fruits and food could have started as well in different regions around the world at that same time or even before the French began to make their own brandy.
Jabir ibn Hayyan often called to as the father of early chemistry invented an apparatus called the Alembic, the Alembic was used for the distillation, this dates back as far as 200BC.
If distillation was already a practiced process at that time, then it cannot be stated for sure which region, in particular, began the extraction of alcohol for brandy.
Brandy Vs. Cognac
While brandy refers to any alcohol gotten from the distillation of wine, fruits or other products, cognac specifically relates to the brandy which is produced from particular grapes.
These grapes are usually Ugni Blanc, and Folle Blanche which is peculiar to the French and the drinks are produced under the strict adherence to the rules of the BNIC—Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac.
Another major difference is that while brandy usually undergoes single distillation and then the resulting alcohol is extracted; cognac undergoes double distillation in copper stills.
In essence, cognac is a type of brandy, but not all types of brandy qualify as cognac. After distillation, cognac undergoes an aging process of nothing less than two years which is not the same for every brandy out there; this aging is carried out in oak barrels and can sit for many years.
The grading system is this: VS meaning over two years, VSOP meaning over four years old and XO meaning six years and over. This rating applies to all brandy including cognac.
Benefit Of Brandy
The notion that brandy has some health qualities as it was used in ancient times is not a lie, some advantages of brandy includes it’s immune boosting abilities, science has discovered that alcohol can fight off bacteria, this is why it is included in drugs used to heal common ailments such as cold.
Another use of brandy for health is for getting good sleep, taking a glass of brandy can help put your body into a resting state, for best results, take after dinner when preparing for bedtime.
Brandy contains ellagic acid, ellagic acid is known for its anti-cancerous uniqueness, it is capable of fighting off new cancer cells in the body.
Are you battling with weight issues and you don’t mind drinking alcohol, take brandy instead, it does not quicken the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body that store up as fats.
Pork Chops With Brandy Mushroom Sauce
When it comes to cooking with brandy, there are so many recipes you can lay your hands on like this tasty pork chops and mushrooms from Art and The Kitchen.
Aren’t you hungry already just looking at the food on that page? The brandy used in the recipe isn’t so much so for those that are newbies to cooking with brandy, you can take it a little at a time. Give the pork chops a try.
Raise A Glass
Just as there are cognac and Armagnac which are types of brandy, there are also many other types of brandy which have been given different names, so don’t get confused when you see an unfamiliar brandy type, it is just a label for probably the kind of processing that was followed to make such brandy in that part of the world.
As it is with any other alcohol- moderation is the word, just as brandy has tons of health benefits and good, pleasing taste, bear in mind that alcohol is also very addictive.
When you see people going for rehabilitation, getting dangerous diseases and even depression setting in, that’s the bad side of it.
If have never cooked with brandy, then you sure should try out the brandy toasted crab legs discussed above and tell me how it turned out for you, if you also have some recipes to share with me, I really do not mind knowing, no overwhelm when it comes to hearing from you guys.