The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Brandy
BRANDY, the name commonly applied to the spirit distilled from the juice of the grape, but also given to liquors distilled from other fruits, such as apples, cherries, peaches, etc. All these brandies differ from each other only in the essential oil which they contain and which gives to each its different flavor and aroma. The alcohol in brandy generally constitutes 50 per cent of the whole, the remaining substances being water, amyl, propyl and isobutyl, alcohols, glycerol, etc. A brandy highly esteemed is Cognac, exported from southwestern France, and obtained by distilling white wines of the finest quality. An inferior kind of spirit is frequently prepared from the “marc” of grapes and the refuse of wine vats. When first distilled it is as colorless as alcohol, and continues so if kept in bottles or jars. When stored in casks, however, it acquires from the wood a pale amber tint, and in this state is sold as pale brandy. The dark color of brown brandy is produced artificially, to please the public taste, by means of a solution of caramel, and this is frequently added in excess to give a rich appearance to a brandy of low quality. A large proportion of the brandy sold in the United States is simply raw grain spirits flavored and colored. The spirit is imported into France, where it is redistilled and converted into French brandy. Brandy improves in flavor by being kept but loses in strength. Of late years the development of viticulture in the western States, particularly in California, has enabled American enterprise to produce a brandy that is a formidable rival to the French article. Imitation brandy is prepared either by flavoring highly rectified spirit with essence of Cognac or by distilling the spirit with bruised prunes, acetic ether, argol and a little genuine brandy and adding to the distilled spirit tincture of catechu and spirit coloring. See Alcohol; Beverages; Distilled Liquors; Liquors.