Brandy (from brandywine, derived from Dutch brandewijn
, gebrande wijn
or "burned wine") is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35–60% alcohol by volume (70–120 US proof) and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink. Some brandies are aged in wooden casks, some are colored with caramel coloring to imitate the effect of aging, and others are produced using a combination of both aging and coloring. The term "brandy" also denotes liquors obtained from the wines of other fruits. Apples, cherries, plums, pears, and peaches have all been distilled into what are called fruit brandies or eaux de vie. Pomace brandy––made using grapes with their stems, skins, and seeds––is also very common.
There are many types of brandy found across the winemaking regions of the world. Among the most renowned are Cognac
and Armagnac from France or Pisco
from Peru and Chile. Brandy is generally rated by age, but the ratings vary widely by country (it is generally unregulated in the US). The most common ratings are: