The process of heating a low-alcohol fermented beverage so as to separate the alcohol from the water in the beverage and concentrate the alcohol in the form of a more potent beverage, a spirit.
A biochemical process in which yeast consumes the sugar in the base beverage and creates ethyl alcohol (ethanol), carbon dioxide and heat.
Term for a simple pot still, believed to have originated with the ancient alchemists in China, though the Arabic culture is credited with developing a crude alembic still in the 5th century. The spread of distillation technology to Europe began in 500 A.D.
Name of the simple pot still used in Cognac production.
The legal, exclusive name for brandy produced and distilled in the Gascony area of France.
A term loosely used to refer to spirits distilled from wine or the fermented juice of other fruits, that is distilled at less than 190 proof and bottled at 80 proof or higher. May or may not be aged after distillation.
An aged brandy made in the Normandy region of France from a mash of apples.
A brandy distilled from wines made only with grapes grown within legal limits of specific regions of western France.
A two-column still invented by Aeneas Coffey of Ireland in 1831.
Cream of California
The first brandy produced by Gallo, briefly available in the 1940s under this label name.
The process of first heating a mixture to separate the more volatile from the less volatile parts, and then cooling and condensing the resulting vapor so as to produce a more nearly pure or refined substance.
The physical process by which a liquid is turned into a gaseous state.
The process by which flavors are pulled out from an oak-aging situation.
To make the base for this fruit spirit distillation, stone fruits like peaches and apricots are fermented into wine before distillation. Sometimes called eau-de-vie.
A pomace brandy, this is an Italian spirit produced from the grape skins and other remains of the winemaking process; similar products are called marc in France, bagaceria in Portugal and orujo in Spain.
A spirited beverage produced by combining a base spirit, either neutral or one having flavor, such as brandy, with flavorings such as herbs, spices, fruits, seeds, nuts, dairy products and sugar.
An alcoholic beverage made by distillation methods instead of fermentation processes.
After distillation, a number of processes may be used to finish the taste and character of the beverage, including adding distilled water and/or maturation in oak barrels.
The oldest and simplest type of still, also called "Alembic Still." Heat is applied directly to the pot. Pot distillation is a discontinuous multi-step process and is also a batch process. Labor and time intensive, pot distillation is associated with expensive, small-run beverages such as brandy.
Syrup made from equal parts sugar and water.
A device used to accomplish distillation of liquids. All stills take advantage of the fact that alcohol vaporizes at a lower temperature than water. A substance is vaporized by heat, then the vapor is condensed by a cooling device. Quality spirits are produced in both pot and continuous stills.
A brandy designation standing for Very Special. In Cognac this label designation means the youngest spirit in the blend was aged a minimum of two years in wood; in Armagnac the youngest spirit was aged one year. Often also called a three-star brandy.
A brandy designation standing for Very Special Old Pale or Reserve. In both Cognac and Armagnac, this label designation means the youngest spirit in the blend was aged four years in wood. The S is sometimes referred to as "Superior" as well.
An alcoholic beverage of medium strength (8 to 16% alcohol) produced by fermenting the juice of grapes.
A brandy designation also called "Napoleon." In Cognac, this label designation means the youngest spirit in the blend was aged a minimum of six years in wood; in Armagnac the youngest spirit was aged five years.
Cells of fungi that cause fermentation under certain conditions. Sugars in a base liquid are converted to alcohol and flavor when the yeast consumes those sugars.