Tag Archives: Brandy

France Made England Love Dutch Gin

War. What is it good for? Well frankly, it is good for Gin sales in England. Throughout history England and France have faced off in approximately 800,023 different wars. While trade between the two nations prospered between conflicts, war brought on emargoes of each other’s national products.

When England outlawed the import of French Brandy in 1733 the people naturally still wanted liquor. Thus, they turned to Dutch Gin to satisfy their desire for inebriation. Their affinity for Gin exists to this day, and for this reason.

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Captain Henry Morgan Didn’t Drink Rum

In the 1600s the namesake of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum sailed all over the Caribbean pirating & plundering Spanish settlements. Given a mandate from the British crown Captain Henry Morgan was technically a privateer—although he made a living doing very piratey things.

Since the Spanish wine industry convinced the crown to outlaw exports of liquor from its colonies, Spanish settlements in Central & South America never got around to making rum like the British Colonies did. So Captain Morgan & anyone raiding Spanish settlements predominantly consumed what they had on hand: Madeira, Wine, & Brandy.

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Some Yeasts Make More Booze Than Others

Each of the hundreds of different yeast strains used to make booze impart different characteristics on the final product. For instance, the two yeasts predominantly used in making Hefeweizen-style beers give the brew with either Banana or Bubble Gum flavors.

All yeast do share a common trait that they end up dying of alcohol-poisoning once they produce too much of it—although the lethal concentration again varies from strain to strain.

Spanish wine makers add Brandy to a white wine to create Sherry. This higher ABV spirit kills off some yeast so that the Flor and Velum strains (tolerant of higher alcohol levels) will thrive and impart their characteristics alone.

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Here’s Why Port has Brandy Added To It

As we have discussed here before: yeast ferments sugar into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). However, yeast is a delicate life form and there comes a point where a toxic level of alcohol is created, and the yeast stops producing booze.

Makers of Port—a sweet & extra-boozy red wine—harness this phenomenon and add Brandy to a partially-fermented wine in order to keep the yeast from eating all the sugar. This way they create a wine that is sweeter and stronger (almost twice as much) than normal.

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19th Century Trolling

The Moral ‘Suasion (1842)

  • 2.0 oz.- Peach Brandy
  • 2.0 tsp.- Cognac
  • 1.0 tsp.- Curaçao
  • 1.0 tsp.- Sugar
  • 0.5 oz.-  Benedictine
  • 0.5 oz.- Lemon Juice

Before Prohibition people who wanted alcohol outlawed for being the root of evil in our country openly clashed and argued with people who appreciated the ability to imbibe as they pleased.

Back before people got their news from platforms like Snapchat they read something called newspapers. Newspapers were very widely observed, and much like on social media today peoples’ feathers got egregiously ruffled when other people would publicly print some severe 19th century smack talk.

In 1842 the, “indomitable foe of alcohol,” Dr. Charles Jewett of Boston printed his dour opinion of a bar owned by Peter Brigham. This incensed Brigham, whose next course of action was to create a line of cocktails (including one called “The Moral ‘Suasion”) specifically to mock a temperance crusader who maligned his bar via print.

The Moral ‘Suasion purported to be so alluring that even the teetotaling likes of Dr. Jewett would appreciate a good quaff.

The Moral ‘Suasion (1842)

  1. Shake all ingredients except the Cognac.
  2. Strain into a glass with fresh ice.
  3. Float the Cognac on top.
  4. Garnish with Strawberries and slices of Orange, Lemon, and Pineapple.

bfd_01.27.19_his.cocktail.moral ‘suasion

DIY Brandy!

As we touched on last week: distilling does not make alcohol—rather it merely extracts alcohol out of a liquid that is already boozy. Basically, stills are high-tech tools for pulling the alcohol out of a boozy liquid, and then yielding an amplified alcohol percentage.

There are low-tech means of increasing the alcohol content of a boozy liquid, as well. Early Americans made a potent drink called Yankee Antifreeze by leaving hard cider out in winter. The water would freeze—leaving behind a higher-proof Apple-alcohol.

In addition, I have come across a really old and similar(-ish) recipe for making rudimentary Brandy. Simply store some, “Canary wine in warm horse dung for four months, then set it outdoors in the fridgid air of winter for another month.”



Have you ever wondered what exactly IS vermouth? Well, first off it is a fortified wine. This means that it has had some spirit—generally brandy—added to it to bring its alcohol content up to around 16%. Common fortified wines include: Port, Sherry, Madeira, and Lillet Blanc.

Vermouth differs from these other fortified wines as an assortment of herbs and spices are added—along with the Brandy—to a white wine in order to imbue it with a vibrant bouquet of flavors.

Those familiar with Manhattans and Martinis may note that Vermouths are commonly divided up into sweet and dry varieties. Sweet Vermouth comes from sweetening and coloring a Dry Vermouth with caramel.