How to Drink Brandy: 6 Tips

Two snifters of brandy.

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Brandy is a robust aromatic liquor that many people struggle to enjoy. The warm spirit comes in various types, depending on which grapes become fermented for each bottle. If you’re nervous about enjoying this beverage with your friends or family, read this guide to learn how to drink brandy and enjoy it neat or in a cocktail.

1. Pick Your Preferred Type

Buying a bottle of brandy isn’t as straightforward as some people think. Many different types offer various experiences based on their flavor profile and aromas. 

Before heading to the store, read about common brandy types and what makes them different, like:

  • Armagna: toffee or caramel notes
  • Brandy de Jerez: subtle fruit or nut flavors
  • Pisco: grape and oak aroma

Consider what flavors you’ve enjoyed in previous hard beverages to pick your first bottle of brandy without too much guesswork.

2. Choose the Right Glass

Dedicated brandy fans often invest in snifters. They’re rounded glasses with short stems that allow maximum ventilation for each pour. You can also drink brandy from a flute-shaped glass with a wide brim for the same effect.

Serve your brandy before playing games in the yard with your friends to compete in kanjam or cornhole with warming drinks. They’ll keep the conversation going and make your evening even more fun.

3. Sniff It Carefully

After gently pouring at least one ounce of brandy into your glass, hold it at chest height and inhale. You should enjoy the different aromas without the alcohol stinging the inside of your nose. This is typically the last step before pairing your brandy with a cigar or the meal at your dinner party.

4. Warm the Brandy

Experts recommend that people enjoy brandy at room temperature. However, it’s crucial to keep the temperature pleasantly cool. When the air gets too hot, the alcohol will evaporate and ruin the intended flavor profile of your chosen bottle.

After the glass of brandy is in your hand, cup it in your palm. Swirl the drink around the glass a few times to warm it. Although it’s unwise to let the alcohol get hot enough to evaporate, warmed brandy has more distinct aromas. 

5. Add Ice if Needed

Take a small sip of your brandy when you’re ready to enjoy it. Let the drink sit on your tongue for a moment before swallowing to get the entire experience.

If you can’t swallow without coughing afterward, take comfort in knowing that’s a normal reaction for anyone new to brandy. You can always add a few pieces of ice to dilute the strength and work your way back up to pure brandy in the future.

Don’t worry if the ice makes you feel like you’re taking an easy way out. Professional bartenders often combine ice with drink recipes to cool the liquor, so it won’t look out of place in your glass.

6. Make Brandy Cocktails

You might find that ice makes no difference. If you don’t enjoy it on its own, you might want to use it as the base in future drink recipes. You can always make delicious brandy cocktails when you want to enjoy brandy in the future. Many people prefer it served that way because the additional flavors round out the brandy’s edge.

Learn How to Drink Brandy

Now that you’ve learned how to drink brandy, select a bottle for your next dinner party or game night. It’s the best liquor to choose if you want a refined beverage that warms and relaxes.

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