Your birthday is coming up and you are looking for the perfect drink to celebrate with your friends. In the back of the pantry, you find a bottle of brandy. As you open the bottle to smell the liquor, you think for a second that this might not be how it should smell and a question pops into your head – does brandy go bad?
Brandy is a worldwide known drink, perfect for any kind of celebration. It is an alcoholic beverage with a strong and exotic taste, but the question remains – how long can it last?
To make sure whether your brandy has expired, we’ve examined this topic in detail to provide you with all the answers you need. In this article, we will introduce you to a simple procedure on how you can check if your brandy has expired as well as a couple of useful tips that you should know about this liquor.
Does Brandy Go Bad?
The answer to this question is NO – if your brandy is kept in the right environment, it has an indefinite shelf life.
In order to understand the reasons behind this fact, you need to understand the alcohol by volume this beverage contains.
The high percentage of alcohol in brandy is the reason why this drink, when properly closed, can be used for many years. With 35% of alcohol this drink contains, it creates an environment which prevents bacteria and fungi from growing and spreading. Because of this, your brandy is as good as new whenever you decide to open it.
The high quality of this drink allows it to be consumed for a long period of time. However, once you open the bottle, it is impossible to keep its top quality forever. At a certain point, you might feel that your brandy is a bit flat and not enjoyable as it was before. If this is the case, do not fear, it has not expired. After a while the bottle is opened, it becomes affected by oxidation and evaporation.
Oxidation represents a process when alcoholic drinks come into contact with air and evaporation is when brandy is stored in warmer places.
What Is Brandy?
At the start of the 16th century, one Dutch merchant came up with a way to deliver more wine in a standard shipment. He removed all water from the wine at the beginning of the trip and when he arrived at the port of destination, he poured it back in again. The Dutch name for this was “Brandewijn” and the literal translation was – “the wine that glows and burns”. Over time, it was transformed into “brandy” the way we know it today.
Brandy is a distilled alcoholic beverage produced from a variety of fermented fruits (grapes, apples, blackberries, apricots, etc.). It can be classified into several categories according to the region and type of fruit: Cognac, Armagnac, American brandy and fruit brandy.
Most brands of this beverage are 80 proof. Proof is a label for the degree of strength of alcoholic beverages (80 proof = 40% alcohol).
Brandy is produced in many countries worldwide. Germany has a long tradition of producing top quality brandy and the pioneer in its production was Hugo Asbach. German brandies contain 40-45% alcohol and are made from apples, peaches, blackberries and cherries.
Let’s take a look at the steps in making one bottle of brandy:
- Fermentation of juice
See Also: Does Distilled Water Go Bad?
Cognac Vs. Brandy?
Although both cognac and brandy are made from distilling wine, there is some difference between the two drinks.
While brandy is usually made from fermented fruit juice, cognac must be made from white grapes and must come from the Cognac Region in Southwest France. Cognac is a special kind of fine brandy and in the past, it was one of the most important French products that enabled economic growth.
The aging of both liquors makes them special. This means that both brandy and cognac can stay in your pantry for a long time and not expire.
How To Tell If Brandy Has Expired?
As long as you keep your brandy in the right environment, it will remain drinkable. However, there is always a slight possibility that after that first sip, you might think that your brandy is a bit flat or not as good as it was before.
You might even ask yourself – has my brandy expired? Nobody wants to serve their guests with a spoiled drink, so here are a couple of helpful tips on how to check if your brandy is still good.
When assessing an alcoholic drink, it is most important that you trust your sense of taste. It’s simple science. After drinking a smaller portion, if you truly feel that something is wrong the smell, taste or the liquor itself and it doesn’t make you feel good – feel free to throw it away.
If you are assessing an already opened bottle of brandy and if something doesn’t seem right, examine its contents by sipping it in the glass first and then after trying it, if it seems okay – feel free to drink it.
As it was mentioned before, after opening the bottle, the quality of the liquor might start to worsen. If you don’t want to throw it away, you can make it better by trying out some cocktail recipes.
TIP: Fruit or herbal infusions will give life to your brandy.
Here are a few steps on how to improve your brandy:
- Place fruits or herbal infusions in a glass jar.
- Pour enough brandy to cover them.
- Shake the jar a few times.
- Leave the jar for three weeks in a cool and dark place.
How To Store Brandy?
It is very important to know how to properly store your alcoholic drinks.The case with brandy is that it is best stored in the pantry.
The rules when storing brandy are:
- Keep it in a dark place.
- The bottle must stand straight.
- Room temperature must be between +18 to +20 degrees.
Because brandy loses its strong taste over time, it is better to store it in conditions where it is not exposed to extreme temperatures. It must not be kept in the freezer because this is by no means a place to store alcoholic beverages.
One of the best ways you can store an already opened brandy is in a metal flask. That way, you can take the drink with you anywhere you go.
Does Brandy Go Bad – Conclusion
So far, we have walked you through some of the most important points regarding brandy. After reading this article, you will know the history of brandy and what it actually is, how to store it and most importantly, how to tell if it has expired. Brandy as well as cognac have an indefinite shelf life if they are kept in the right environment.
Brandy is a worldwide alcoholic drink with a strong and exotic taste. It is produced all over the world and it is a perfect drink for any kind of celebration.
There is a slight difference between brandy and cognac. Although brandy can be made from all kinds of fermented fruits, cognac must be made from white grapes in France.
The best way to store your brandy is in a dark and cool place with the bottle standing straight and away from any extreme temperatures.
Even if you come to find out that your brandy is not as good as it was before, don’t worry- it will make an excellent ingredient for some cocktails.
Now that you know everything that you need to know about brandy, pick out your finest glasses and enjoy your drink!