Brandy comes in several varieties and serves as an ingredient in hundreds of cocktails. However, it is often served as an aperitif following a meal. It is made from fermented wine or fruit juice and aged in wooden barrels that lend the spirit certain flavours during the ageing process. Bartenders serve brandy in wide-bowled glasses similar to wine glasses. The wide bowl is designed to capture the aromas of the brandy. These aromas can be further enhanced by warming the brandy prior to drinking.
Place brandy snifter in one hand, holding the bowl against the palm of your hand. Allow the snifter stem to rest between your middle and ring finger.
Pour two or three ounces of brandy into the snifter, leaving plenty of room in the top of the glass.
Keep the brandy snifter in contact with the palm of your hand as you sip so that the natural warmth continues to warm the brandy.
Warm two or three ounces of water in a small saucepan.
Hold the snifter by the stem or place it on a counter top and pour the heated water into the snifter. Swirl gently to warm the snifterl.
Pour out the heated water. Fill the warmed snifter with two or three ounces of brandy.
Heat a few ounces of water in a small saucepan and pour it into a standard rocks glass (a short glass often used to serve whiskey)..
Pour your brandy into the snifter and carefully balance the bowl of the snifter at an angle on the top of the rocks glass.
Remove the snifter from the rocks glass when the brandy is warmed.
Pour your brandy into the brandy snifter and place the bowl at an angle in the top frame of the brandy warmer.
Light the tea light on the bottom of the warmer.
Remove the brandy snifter once the brandy is sufficiently warmed.
Brandy alcohol and sugar content make it flammable. A festive holiday plum pudding can be doused with brandy and set aflame. Aside from producing a dramatic effect for your dinner guests, the brandy caramelises on the pudding and adds flavour and texture. You can also add brandy to hot drinks such as coffee or hot chocolate.
Always be aware of the flammability of brandy when heating it or using it near a flame. Avoid overheating. A subtle warmth is the goal when you are sipping. As always when drinking alcoholic beverages, do so responsibly and never when you have to drive.