Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35–60% alcohol by volume (70–120 US proof) and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink. Some brandies are aged in wooden casks, some are colored with caramel coloring to imitate the effect of aging, and some brandies are produced using a combination of both aging and coloring. Brandy is also produced from fermented fruits other than grapes, but these products are typically named eaux-de-vie, especially in French.
Brandy may be served neat or on the rocks (over ice cubes). It may be added to other beverages to make several popular cocktails; these include the Brandy Sour, the Brandy Alexander, the Sidecar, the Brandy Daisy, and the Brandy Old Fashioned. When drunk at room temperature, it is often slightly warmed by holding the glass cupped in the palm or by gentle heating.
There are three main types of brandy. The term "brandy" denotes grape brandy if the type is not otherwise specified.
Grape brandy: Grape brandy is produced by the distillation of fermented grapes.
Fruit brandy: Fruit brandies are distilled from fruits other than grapes. Apples, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, elderberries, raspberries, and blackberries are the most commonly used fruits. Fruit brandy usually contains 40% to 45% ABV (80 to 90 US proof). It is often colorless. Fruit brandy is customarily drunk chilled or over ice, but is occasionally mixed. For example, blackberry brandy and Coca-Cola are mixed to make a popular New England drink called "the blackbird".
Pomace brandy: Pomace brandy, also called marc in both English and French, is produced by fermentation and distillation of the grape skins, seeds, and stems that remain after grapes have been pressed to extract their juice for making wine. Most pomace brandies are neither aged nor colored.