Saturday, September 26, 2009

Making Brandy

Brandy starts with a fermented fruit juice, mostly grape wine, but it is not limited to that any fermented fruit juice works. The difference between brandy and wine is that after the wine is aged properly it is distilled to turn it into brandy.

You can also do this with other fruit juices to create different flavors of brandy. Black Berry brandy is an example of this process. You start by making blackberry wine then pass it through a still to raise its alcoholic content.

Grappa, the Italian drink is made from the grapes after they have been pressed for wine the first time. The second squeezing can be made into wine but it is usually distilled into Grappa after it is fermented as the last step. This is a drink that you have to acquire a taste for as it is quite harsh in flavor, and has a fruity odor that is picked up from the variety of grapes it is made from. The French make a similar drink the same was they call “Marc.”

A different kind of drink is also from Brittany in France called “Calvados” that is made from distilled Hard Cider. In fact some of the Brittany cider makers were imported into Colonial America for the sole purpose of making cider,

Making Applejack and Winter Wine

Both of these drinks are very strong alcoholic beverages requiring a very cold winter. They are both based on a simple principle that is alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water. In the case of applejack the starter is hard cider. A barrel is filled with hard cider early in the winter and then allowed to freeze during the coldest part of winter. At the end of this cold period barrel full of hard cider that is spent outdoors all winter is opened and a hole is chiseled into the ice until it reaches a cavity inside that is full of alcohol. This alcohol is concentrated by the action of freezing the hard cider that you put in there at the beginning of winter. It depends on how cold that it actually gets is a function of how strong the alcohol becomes. The strongest alcohol is the result of a long and very cold winter. You can do the same thing by using a freezer the only difference is the freezer concentrates the alcohol instead of cold weather.