Posts Tagged ‘brandy’

Brandy cocktails

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Post

Not very much down my alley but it is a part of the Brandy universe and as such deserves a post here. I prefer my Brandy straight up. No ice. No water. No nothing. But there are some Brandy cocktails recipes that, let’s say, are worth a mention here. They at least make an eyebrow of mine raise. To be very precise I did not try every cocktail mentioned here more than once (well apart from one). And I do not consider myself a cocktail mixing bar man. I have other virtues. So apart from the eyebrow nothing much happened. But if I would drink a Brandy based cocktail on a regular basis, it would be one of the following! And while at it I thought it was a great opportunity to go thru a few glasses of them tasty maraschino cherries! πŸ™‚

B&P – 2cl Brandy, 5cl Port, stir and serve on ice. Simple and yet surprising

Brandy Collins – 4cl Brandy, 3cl sugar sirup, 3cl lemon juice, Soda water to your choice, serve stirred with ice. Elegant but effective. BTW this one lends itself to be decorated and accompanied with fruit. I went for red submarine. A maraschino cherry.

Chateau Sarre – 4cl Brandy, 2cl banana cream liquor, 2cl Maraschino, ice cubes. The name is actually more “thrilling” than the drink. πŸ™‚

Brandy Flip – 2cl Port, 3cl Brandy, 1 egg yolk, 1 ts sugar, 2cl cream and a little nutmeg. I guess if you do not have the time for a real lunch or are not a big fan of egg nog, this is for you! I changed the original from more to less port and added more Brandy because I like that better. Profit from being served cold in my opinion.

Brandy Sour – 8cl Brandy, 2cl lemon sirup, 1ts lemon juice, Soda water and a drop of angostura. Serve with ice. Having been to Cyprus, there is no way around this drink established on the island by the English. So that one I knew and adjudicated a lot during my visit to Cyprus.

Hanseatic – 4cl Brandy, 2cl Burbon, 6cl Champagne or Prosecco. This is as not as girlie as the ingredients make it sound, I guess. Personally I prefer Scotch over Burbon but with a sweet demi-sec Champagne to compensate the Whiskys personality.

And a world premiere:
The felted hat – 4cl Gran Duque d’Alba, 1cl Maraschino, fill up glas with ginger ale and add ice, good stuff for happy days, and you might add maraschino cherries too πŸ™‚

I think it goes without saying but I mention it here anyway. I believe in top notch ingridients. Mixing a drink with third class alcohol does not make it equaly enjoyable. If the stuff that tastes good straight up already, is used in a cocktail, chances are, your going to appreciate the mix better as well.

Hope that with this post I was able to raise one or the other eyebrow out there as well. So please go ahead, it’s actually more fun than I anticipated. Or do you have a cocktail with Brandy that you like much better than the ones above?!?

Visiting bodegas in Jerez

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Post

One of the reasons that I am not posting on a regular basis lately was that I was on vacation. πŸ™‚ And not just any place. Finally a little dream of mine came true and I was able to walk the magic halls of some of the finest bodegas in the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Endless rows of solera style casks strung one after the other. Oloroso, Canasta, Fino and many other wines where stored and one of the things that stood out most for me, was that sweet scent of aged wine and wood that was in the air. This intriguing and intoxicating aroma reminded my of some of the best, old Brandies I have had and I immediately got caught up in it, never wanting to leave again.

Bodega Lustau

I was able to attend a guided tour of the Bodega Lustau. The history, tradition and knowledge there were really deeply impressive. The tour ended with the obligatory wine tasting (of course, no Brandies were included in the standard tasting). As I had to drive later that day, I passed on some of the drier wines just nosing a little. When it came to the sweeter Sherrys I did try some with the Lustau East Indian Solera being my favorite. Excellent stuff! A little dissapointment was that the in-house shop did not have anything special when it came to my beloved brandies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lustau and all of their Brandies were present there. But I was kind of hoping that there would be something to find that you can only get right from the bodega and not anywhere else (later I found out that none of the bodegas I visited had something like that). Here I would like to give my respect to Manuel Lozano, the head enologist at Lustau. He obviously has a very special hand (,nose and palate) and is able to refine Lustaus wines and spirits into something very special. I certainly recommend a guided tour at Lustau!

Bodega Humbert William

Of course I was on the lookout for Brandies when visiting Jerez! Stuff that I did not know up until then or I was not able to get my hands on so far. On the one hand side I entered every shop I could find and asked for “especialidades” (not much to the pleasure of my family) and on the other hand I payed a visit to as much bodega shops I possibly could in the short time. The best visit of a bodega shop certainly was at Williams & Humbert (gotta love the Gran Duque d’Alba!). This was due to the simple fact that the shop was at the very end of a huge ‘almacen’ (warehouse) stocked with solera lines of casks. As I was on my own I pretty much had the chance to walk unguided through the warehouse, soaking up the atmosphere, the scent and the tradition. Truly amazing places that give the impression of cathedrals where your senses are lulled by the sweet smell of aging wine.


At the end of the short trip we had to buy an additional suitcase to make space for all the bottles of Brandy. So it certainly was an eventful and successful hunt. πŸ™‚ As posted on my facebook page already, I brought back 11 Brandies. I left for Andalusia with a big list of Brandys that I had not tasted before and I only got two or three from that list. Many of the ones I bought I have not heard of before or did not know that this bodega makes a “gran gran reserva”, platinum or whatever name they give their finest of the fine. So some are very unique and precious and some simply just to good to pass on. As I already had some closed bottles at home I am now left with the cumbersome work to open all of them and write a tasting. What a terrible stress I will be putting myself through! Can’t wait. πŸ™‚

Duque de Veragua

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

Another gem from Jerez that for some reason is not so well known outside of Spain: the Duque de Veragua Solera Gran Reserva made by Álvaro Domecq, S.L. from Jerez. This one was on my radar for some years but I somewhat never was able to source it for a decent price (I really wish I could visit Spain more often). Finally I found a place in Germany that had a good offer and I pulled the trigger. Maybe this Brandy is not so well known outside of Spain as the bodega is rather young. But so much upfront, I feel this really should change!

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

The presentation with the nicely shaped bottle in the old school, red cardboard packaging already builds up a high expectation. The dark, glossy and almost coffee like color even more so. And what can I say, opening the bottle for the first time fills the ambient air with the rich scent of a well aged Solera Gran Reserva. Don’t you just love it when you pull the cork and get a nice whiff of Brandy?!? Spectacular!

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

Luckily the taste and finish do not disappoint the high expectation as the drink carries all the classic aspects of an excellent Brandy. Really a true master piece that outshines many of the well known regular SLRs by a good stretch! Not knowing how many years this distill has on its back I am guessing that it contains quite some old stock, at least 15 to 20 years if not more (and after checking the home page linked above I understand the older contents of this SGR are 30 years).

Duque de Veragua Brandy Jerez

I personally always like to know which grapes have been used and here as well the above linked home page is very helpful. The Duque de Veragua is made of 95% Airen and 5% Palomino grapes. Another interesting aspect is the 38% alcohol by volume (AVB). Many Brandies have 40% so this Brandy has a particular smooth mouth feeling. Really the only thing I could point out as a minus here is the availability in my neighborhood and if I could choose I would wish for an even longer finish. Maybe the more expensive Duque de Veragua Reserva would satisfy this need in me? πŸ™‚ In any case this Duque de Veragua is really great stuff and I highly recommend it!!!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet: Duque de Veragua