Brandy, in its broadest definition, is a spirit made from either the fruit juice or the fruit pulp and skin of grapes. The origins of brandy can be traced back to Arab alchemists in the 7th and 8th centuries who experimented with distilling grapes and other fruits in order to make medicinal spirits. The word brandy comes from the Dutch word brandewijn, meaning “burnt wine”, which is how 16th century Dutch traders described the wine from Spain and southern France that had been “burnt,” or boiled, in order to distill it.

Within the broader category of brandy are those distillates made specifically from grapes. These are grappas and grape brandies:

Grappa is a type of brandy made from the pressed grape pulp, skins, and stems that remain after the grapes are crushed and pressed to extract most of the juice for wine.

Grape brandy is a type of brandy distilled from fermented grape juice and aged in wooden casks (usually oak) which colors it, mellows the palate, and adds additional aromas and flavors. Two of the best known types of grape brandy are Cognac and Armagnac, from the eponymous cities in France.

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