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All about fruit brandy
We’ve known for a while now that you can ferment fruit into alcohol. We also know that, if you can do that, you can go even further and distill that into a strong spirit. This is the simple, can-do attitude behind fruit brandy, a drink that takes ordinary fruit and transports it to the spirit realm.
Why doesn’t it just say “fruit brandy” on the bottle?
Fair question! Fruit brandy historically goes by different names in different lands. Your bartender would call your plum brandy “Slivovitz” in Serbia, but probably “Palinka” across the border in Hungary. In German-speaking Europe, Cherry brandy is called “Kirsch”. That’s how local things are and it’s certainly part of this beverage’s allure.
What types of fruits make up fruit brandy?
Fruit brandy’s cool because it’s usually a natural progression of local agriculture. Distillers can use any non-grape fruit (distilled wine is straight-up brandy), but cherries, raspberries, apples and raspberries (framboise), and pears are among the most popular brandy candidates. Some growers even grow their brandy-bound Williams pears in the bottle. Look it up if you don’t believe us.
How does fruit brandy taste?
It shouldn’t shock you to learn that good fruit brandy carries the character of the original fruit - and often more. Pear brandy can carry the delicate, fruity-floral notes that we love in pears and add hints of jam and even licorice. A Czech plum-based “Slivovice” brings intense but balanced flavors of plums, but also an almond nuttiness that is wonderfully complex. The fruit hearkens back to the orchards and the farms, and the fermentation/distillation process usually adds that extra layer of complexity.
When to serve fruit brandy
Fruit brandy’s high alcohol content (around 40%) and refreshing fruitiness traditionally made it a great “digestif” after a meal. Pour a small amount in a tapered glass and you’ll smell all the fruity goodness. Boozier versions do better with a drop of water or two. There are lots of blending and cocktail options, too. Pear and raspberry brandies are a great fruity addition to bright citrusy tiki-style cocktails, and if you haven’t had apple brandy in your punch or as the base for a hot toddy, we’d say you’re overdue for that pleasure.